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Full text of "The moral and intellectual diversity of races, with particular reference to their respective influence in the civil and political history of mankind / from the French by Count A. De Gobineau; with an analytical introduction and copious historical notes by H. Hotz; to which is added an appendix containing a summary of the latest scientific facts bearing upon the question of unity or plurality of species by J. C. Nott"

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By H. HOTZ. 




By J. C. NOTT, M. D., 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by 


in the Office of the Clerk of the District Court of the United 
States in and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 



MAR 2 !i 13^2 









It has been truly observed that a good book 
seldom requires, and a bad one never deserves, a 
long preface. Wben a foreign book, however, is 
obtruded on the notice of the public, it is but just 
that the reasons for so doing should be explained ; 
and, in the present case, this is the more necessary, 
as the title of the work might lead many to believe 
that it was intended to re-agitate the question of 
unity or plurality of the human species — a question 
which the majorit}^ of readers consider satisfactorily 
and forever settled by the words of Holy Writ. 
Such, however, is not the purpose of either the 
author or the editor. The design of this work 
is, to contribute toward the knowledge of the 
leading mental and moral characteristics of the 
various races of men which have subsisted from 
the dawn of history to the present era, and to 
ascertain, if possible, the degree to which they are 
susceptible of improvement. The annals of the 


world demonstrate beyond a doubt, tliat the 
different branches of the human family, like the 
individual members of a community, are endowed 
with capacities, different not only in degree but in 
kind, and that, in proportion to these endowments, 
they have contributed, and still contribute to that 
great march of progress of the human race, which 
we term civilization. To portray the nature of 
these endowments, to estimate the influence of each 
race in the destinies of all, and to point out the 
effects of mixture of races in the rise and fall of 
great empires, has been the task to the accom- 
plishment of which, though too extensive for one 
man, the author has devoted his abilities. The 
troubles and sufferings of his native country, from 
sudden political gyrations, led him to speculate 
upon their causes, which he believes are to be 
traced to the great variety of incongruous ethnical 
elements composing the population of France. The 
deductions at which he arrived in that field of 
observation he subjected to the test of universal 
history; and the result of his studies for many 
years, facilitated by the experiences of a diplo- 
matic career, are now before the American public 
in a translation. That a work, on so comprehensive 
a subject, should be exempt from error, cannot be 
expected, and is not pretended; but the aim is 


certainly a noble one, and its pursuit cannot be 
otlierwise than instructive to tbe statesman and 
liistorian, and no less so to the general reader. 
In this country, it is peculiarly interesting and 
important, for not only is our immense territory 
the abode of the three best defined varieties of the 
human species — the white, the negro, and the 
Indian — to which the extensive immigration of 
the Chinese on our Pacifi.c coast is rapidly adding 
a fourth, but the fusion of diverse nationalities is 
nowhere more rapid and complete ; nowhere is the 
great problem of man's perfectibility being solved 
on a grander scale, or in a more decisive manner. 
While, then, nothing can be further removed from 
our intentions, or more repugnant to our senti- 
ments, than to wage war on religion, or throw 
ridicule on the labors of the missionary and phi- 
lanthropist, we thought it not a useless undertaking 
to lay before our countrymen the opinions of a 
European thinker, who, without straining or 
superseding texts to answer his purposes, or de- 
parting in any way from the pure spirit of Christi- 
anity, has reflected upon questions which with us 
are of immense moment and constant recurrence. 

H. H. 

Philadelphia, Nov. 1, 1855. 



The discussion of the moral and intellectual diTersity of races 
totally independent of the question of unity or plurality of 
origin — Leading propositions of this volume, with illustrations 
and comments. 



Perishable condition of all human societies — Ancient ideas con- 
cerning this phenomenon — Modern theories . .105 



Fanaticism — Aztec Empire of Mexico. — LrxuKT — Modern Eu- 
ropean States as luxurious as the ancient. — Corruption of 
morals — The standard of morality fluctuates in the various 
periods of a nation's history : example, France — Is no higher 
in youthful communities than in old ones — Morality of Paris. 
— Irreligion — Never spreads through all ranks of a nation — 
Greece and Rome — Tenacity of Paganism . . . Ill 




MisgOTernment defined — Athens, China, Spain, Germany, Italy, 
etc. — Is not in itself a sufficient cause for the ruin of nations. 




Skeleton history of a nation — Origin of castes, nobility, etc. — 
Vitality of nations not necessarily extinguished by conquest — 
China, Ilindostan — Permanency of their peculiar ciTilizations. 




Antipathy of races — E,esults of their mixture — The scientific 
axiom of the absolute equality of men, but an extension of 
the political — Its fallacy — Universal belief in unequal endow- 
ment of races — The moral and intellectual diversity of races 
not attributable to institutions — Indigenous institutions are 
the expression of popular sentiments ; Tvheii foreign and 
imported, they never prosper — Illustrations : England and 
France — Roman Empire — European Colonies — Sandwich 
Islands — St. Domingo — Jesuit missions in Paraguay . 172 




America — Ancient empires — Phenicians and Romans — Jews — 
Greece and Rome — Commercial cities of Europe — Isthmus of 
Darien . , 201 



The term Christian civilization examined — Reasons for rejecting 
it — Intellectual diversity no hindrance to the universal diffu- 
sion of Christianity — Civilizing influence of Christian religion 
by elevating and purifying the morals, etc. ; but does not 
remove intellectual disparities — Various instances — Chero- 
kees — Difference between imitation and comprehension of 
civilized life 215 



Rapid survey of the populations comprised under the appella- 
tion " Teutonic" — Their present ethnological area, and lead- 
ing characteristics— Fondness for the sea displayed by the 
Teutonic tribes of Northwestern Europe, and perceptible in 

their descendants 234 





Mr. Guizot's and Mr. W. Ton Humboldt's definitions examined. 
Its elements * . . 246 



Definition of the term — Specific differences of civilizations — 
Hindoo, Chinese, European, Greek, and Roman civilizations 
— Universality of Chinese civilization — Superficiality of ours 
— Picture of the social condition of France . . 272 



Systems of Camper, Blumenbach, Morton, Carus — Investigations 
of Owen, Vrolik, Weber — Prolificness of hybrids, the great 
scientific stronghold of the advocates of unity of species 312 



The language of Holy Writ in favor of common origin — The 
permanency of their characteristics separates the races of 
men as eflFectually as if they "were distinct creations — Arabs, 
Jevrs — Prichard's argument about the influence of climate 
examined — Ethnological history of the Turks and Hunga- 
rians . . . . 336 




Primary varieties — Test for recognizing them ; not always reli- 
able — Effects of intermixture — Secondary varieties — Tertiary 
varieties — Amalgamation of races in large cities — Relative 
scale of beauty in various branches of the human family — 
Their inequality in muscular strength and powers of en- 
durance 368 

The position and treatment of woman among the various races 
of men a proof of their moral and intellectual diversity 384 



Imperfect notions of the capability of savage tribes — Parallel 
between our civilization and those that preceded it — Our 
modern political theories no novelty — The political parties 
of Rome — Peace societies— The art of printing a means, the 
results of which depend on its use — What constitutes a 
"living" civilization — Limits of the sphere of intellectual 
acquisitions .391 



Necessary consequences of a supposed equality of all races — 
Uniform testimony of history to the contrary — Traces of ex- 


tinct civilizations among barbarous tribes — Laws 'which govern 
the adoption of a state of civilization by conquered popula- 
tions — Antagonism of different modes of culture ; the Hellenic 
and Persian, European and Arab, etc 414 



Impropriety of drawing general conclusions from individual 
cases — Recapitulatory sketch of the leading features of the 
Negro, the Yellow, and the White races — Superiority of the 
latter — Conclusion of volume the first .... 439 

By J. C. NoTT, M. D. 

A. — Dr. Morton's later tables 461 

B. — Species ; varieties. Latest experiments upon the laws of 
hybridity 473 

C. — Biblical connections of the question of unity or plurality of 
species . . . . . . . . 504 


Befoke departing on one's travels to a foreign 
country, it is well to cast a glance on the map, 
and if we expect to meet and examine many 
curiosities, a correct itinerary may not be an 
inconvenient travelling companion. In laying 
before tlie public the present work of Mr. Gobi- 
neau, embracing a field of inquiry so boundless 
and treating of subjects of such vast importance 
to all, it has been thought not altogether useless 
or inappropriate to give a rapid outline of the 
topics presented to the consideration of the 
reader — a ground-plan, as it were, of the exten- 
sive edifice he is invited to enter, so that he may 
afterwards examine it at leisure, and judge of 
the symmetry of its parts. This, though fully 
sensible of the inadequacy of his powers to the 
due execution of the task, the present writer has 
endeavored to do, making such comments on the 


way, and using such additional illustrations as the 
nature of the subject seemed to require. 

Whether we contemplate the human family 
from the point of view of the naturalist or of the 
philosopher, we are struck with the marked 
dissimilarity of the various groups. The obvious 
physical characteristics by which we distinguish 
what are termed different races, are not more 
clearly defined than the psychical diversities observ- 
able among them. "If a person," says the learned 
vindicator of the unity of the human species,^ 
" after surveying some brilliant ceremony or court 
pageant in one of the splendid cities of Europe, 
were suddenly carried into a hamlet in Negro- 
land, at the hour when the sable tribes recreate 
themselves with dancing and music ; or if he were 
transported to the saline plains over which bald 
and tawny Mongolians roam, differing but little in 
hue from the yellow soil of their steppes, bright- 
ened by the saffron flowers of the iris and tulip ; 
if he were placed near the solitary 'dens of the 
Bushman, where the lean and hungry savage 

' Researches into the Physical History of Mankind. By James 
Cowles PricLard, M.D., London, 1841, Vol. i. p. 1. 


crouches in silence, like a beast of prey, watcliing 
with fixed eyes the birds which enter his pitfall, 
or greedily devouring the insects and reptiles 
which chance may bring within his grasp ; if he 
were carried into the midst of an Australian 
forest, where the squalid companions of kangaroos 
may be seen crawling in procession, in imitation of 
quadrupeds, would the spectator of such phenomena 
imagine the different groups which he had sur- 
veyed to be the offspring of one family ? And if 
he were led to adopt that opinion, how would he 
attempt to account for the striking diversities in 
their aspect and manner of existence ?" 

These diversities, so graphically described by 
Mr. Prichard, present a problem, the solution of 
which has occupied the most ingenious minds, 
especially of our times. The question of unity 
or plurality of the human species has of late 
excited much animated discussion ; great names 
and weighty authorities are enlisted on either 
side, and a unanimous decision appears not likely 
to be soon agreed upon. But it is not my purpose, 
nor that of the author to whose writings these 
pages are introductory, to enter into a contest which 
to me seems rather a dispute about words than 
essentials. The distinguishing physical character- 
istics of what we term races of man are recognized 


by all parties, and whether these races are distinct 
species or permanent varieties^ only of "the same, 
cannot affect the subject under investigation. In 
whatever manner the diversities among the 
various branches of the human family may have 
originated, whether they are primordial or were 
produced by external causes, their permanency is 
now generally admitted. " The Ethiopian cannot 
change his skin." If there are, or ever have been, 
external agencies that could change a white man 
into a negro, or vice versa, it is obvious that such 
causes have either ceased to operate, or operate 
only in a lapse of time so incommensurable as to 
be imponderable to our perceptions, for the races 
which now exist can be traced up to the dawn of 
history, and no well-authenticated instance of a 
transformation under any circumstances is on 
record. In human reasoning it is certainly legiti- 
mate to judge of the future by the experiences of 
the past, and we are, therefore, warranted to con- 
clude that if races have preserved their identity 
for the last two thousand years, they will not lose 
it in the next two thousand. 

' "Mr. VvichaiVd' s permanent variety, from his own definition, 
is to all intents and purposes a species." — K?ieeland's Introduction 
to Hamilton SmitKs Natural History of the Human Species, 
p. 84. 


It is somewtiat singular, however, tliat while 
most writers have ceased to explain the physical 
diversities of races by external causes, such as 
climate, food, etc., yet many still persist in main- 
taining the absolute equality of all in other 
respects, referring such differences in character as 
are undeniable, solely to circumstances, education, 
mode of life, etc. These writers consider all races 
as merely in different stages of development, and 
pretend that the lowest savage, or at least his 
offspring, may, by judicious training, and in course 
of time, be rendered equal to the civilized man. 
Before mentioning any facts in opposition to this 
doctrine, let us examine the reasoning upon which 
it is based. 

" Man is the creature of circumstances," is an 
adage extended from individuals to races, and re- 
peated by many without considering its bearing. 
The celebrated author of Wealth of Nations^ says, 
"that the difference between the most dissimilar 
characters, between a philosopher and a common 
street porter, for example, arises, not so much from 
nature, but from habit and education." That a 
mind, which, with proper nurture, might have 
graced a philosopher, should, under unfavorable 

' Smith's Wealth of Nations, Araer. ed., vol. i. p. 29. 


circumstances, remain forever confined in a nar- 
row and humble sphere, does not, indeed, seem at 
all improbable ; but Dr. Smith certainly does not 
mean to deny the existence of natural talents, of 
innate peculiar capacities for the accomplishment 
of certain purposes. This is what they do who 
ascribe the mental inequality of the various 
branches of the human family to external circum- 
stances only. " The intellectual qualities of man," 
say they, "are developed entirely by education. 
The mind is, at first, a perfect blank, fitted and 
ready to receive any kind of impressions. For 
these, we are dependent on the political, civil, and 
religious institutions under which we live, the 
persons with whom we are connected, and the cir- 
cumstances in which we are placed in the difterent 
periods of life. Wholly the creatures of associa- 
tion and habit, the characters of men are formed 
by the instruction, conversation, and example of 
those with whom they mix in society, or whose 
ideas they imbibe in the course of their reading 
and studies."^ Again : " As all men, in all na- 
tions, are of the same species, are endowed with 
the same senses and feelings, and receive their 

' Vide Bigland's Effects of Physical and Moral Causes on the 
Character and Circumstances of Nations. London, 1828, p. 282. 


perceptions and ideas tlirongh. similar organs, the 
difference, wlietlier physical or moral, that is ob- 
served in comparing different races or assem- 
blages of men, can arise only from external and 
adventitious circumstances."^ The last position is 
entirely dependent on the first ; if we grant the 
first, relating to individu.als, the other follows as a 
necessary consequence. ¥or, if we assume that 
the infinite intellectual diversities of individuals 
are owing solely to external influences, it is self- 
evident that the same diversities in nations, which 
are but aggregations of individuals, must result 
from the same causes. But are we prepared to 
grant this first position — to assert that man is but 
an automaton, whose wheel work is entirely with- 
out — the mere buffet and plaything of accident and 
circumstances? Is not this the first step to gross 
materialism, the first argument laid down by that 
school, of which the great Locke has been stigma- 
tized as the father, because he also asserts that the 
human mind is at first a blank tablet. But Locke 
certainly could not mean that all these tablets 
were the same and of equal value. A tablet of 
wax receives an impression which one of marble 
will not ; on the former is easily effaced what the 

' Op. cit, p. 7. 


other forever retains. "We do not deny tliat cir- 
cumstances have a great influence in moulding 
both moral and intellectual character, but we do 
insist that there is a primary basis upon which 
the degree of that influence depends, and which 
is the work of God and not of man or chance. 
"What agriculturist could be made to believe that, 
with the same care, all plants would thrive equally 
well in all soils? To assert that the character of 
a man, whether good or wicked, noble or mean, is 
the aggregate result of influences over which he 
has no control, is to deny that man is a free agent; 
it is infinitely worse than the creed of the Bud- 
dhist, who believes that all animated beings pos- 
sess a detached portion of an all-embracing intel- 
ligence, which acts according to the nature and 
capacity of the machine of clay that it, for the 
time, occupies, and when the machine is worn out 
or destroyed, returns, like a rivulet to the sea, to 
the vast ocean of intelligence whence it came, and 
in which again it is lost. In the name of common 
sense, daily observation, and above all, of revela- 
tion, we protest against a doctrine which paves 
the road to the most absurd as well as anti-reli- 
gious conclusions. In it we recognize the foun- 
tain whence flow all the varied forms and names 
under which Atheism disguises itself. But it is 


useless to enter any further upon the refutation of 
an argument which few would be willing seriously 
to maintain. It is one of those plausible specula- 
tions which, once admitted, serve as the basis of 
so many brilliant, but airy, theories that dazzle 
and attract those who do not take the trouble of 
examining their solidity. 

Once we admit that circumstances, though they 
may impede or favor the development of powers, 
cannot give them; in other words, that they can 
call into action, but cannot create, moral and in- 
tellectual resources; no argument can be drawn 
from the unity of species in favor of the mental 
equality of races. If two men, the offspring of 
the same parents, can be the one a dunce, the 
other a genius, why cannot different races, though 
descended of the same stock, be different also in 
intellectual endowments? We should laugh at, 
or rather, pity the man who would try to persuade 
us that there is no difference in color, etc., between 
the Scandinavian and the African, and yet it is by 
some considered little short of heresy to affirm, 
that there is an imparity in their minds as well as 
in their bodies. 

We are told — and the objection seems indeed 
a grave one — that if we admit psychical as well 
as physical gradations in the scale of human races, 


the lowest must be so hopelessly inferior to the 
higher, their perceptions and intellectual capa- 
cities so dim, that even the light of the gospel 
cannot illumine them. "Were it so, we should at 
once abandon the argument as one above human 
comprehension, rather than suppose that God's 
mercy is confined to any particular race or races. 
But let us earnestly investigate the question. On 
so vital a point the sacred record cannot but be 
plain and explicit. To it let us turn. Man — 
even the lowest of his species — has a soul. How- 
ever much defaced Grod's image, it is vivified 
by His breath. To save that soul, to release it 
from the bondage of evil, Christ descended upon 
earth and gave to mankind, not a complicated 
system of philosophy which none but the learned 
and intellectual could understand, but a few 
simple lessons and precepts, comprehensible to the 
meanest capacity. He did not address himself to 
the wise of this world, but bade them be like 
children if they would come unto him. The 
learned Pharisees of Judea jeered and ridiculed 
him, but the poor woman of Canaan eagerly 
picked up the precious crumbs of that blessed re- 
past which they despised. His apostles were chosen 
from among the lowly and simple, his first follow- 


ers belonged to that class. He himself hath said :' 
"I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and 
earth, because thou hast hid these things from the 
wise and prudent, and hast revealed tliem unto 
babes." How then shall we judge of the degree 
of intellect necessary to be a follower of Jesus ? 
Are the most intellectual, the best informed men 
generally the best Christians? Or does the word 
of God anywhere lead us to sujopose that at the 
great final judgment the learned prelate or in- 
genious expositor of the faith will be preferred to 
the bumble, illiterate savage of some almost un- 
known coast, who eagerly drinks of the living 
water whereof whosoever drinketh shall never 
tbirst again ? 

This subject has met with the attention which 
its importance deserves, at the hands of Mr, 
Gobineau, and he also shows the fallacy of the 
idea that Christianity will remove the mental 
inequality of races. True religion, among all 
nations who are blessed with it and sincerely 
embrace it, will purify their morals, and establisb 
friendly relations between man and his fellow- 
man. But it will not make an intellectually in- 
ferior race equal to a superior one, because it was 

' St. Matthew, ch. xi. v. 25. 


not designed to bestow talents or to endow with 
genius those who are devoid of it. Civilization is 
essentially the result of man's intellectual gifts, 
and must vary in its character and degree like 
them. Of this we shall speak again in treating of 
the specific differences of civilization^ when the term 
Christian civilization will also be examined. 

One great reason why so many refuse to recog- 
nize mental as well as physical differences among 
races, is the common and favorite belief of our 
time in the infinite perfectibility of man. Under 
various forms this development-theory, so flatter- 
ing to humanity, has gained an incredible number 
of adherents and defenders. We believe ourselves 
steadily marching towards some brilliant goal, to 
which every generation brings us nearer. We 
look with a pity, almost amounting to contempt, 
upon those who preceded us, and envy posterity, 
which we expect to surpass us in a ratio even 
greater than we believe ourselves to surpass our 
ancestors. It is indeed a beautiful and poetic idea 
that civilization is a vast and magnificent edifice 
of which the first generation laid the corner-stone, 
and to which each succeeding age contributes new 
materials and new embellishments. It is our tower 
of Babel, by which we, like the first men after the 
flood, hope to reach heaven and escape the ills of 


life. Some sucli idea has flattered all ages, but in 
ours it has assumed a more definite form. We 
point with pride to our inventions, annihilating — 
we say — time and distance ; our labor-saving ma- 
chines refining the mechanic and indirectly diffus- 
ing information among all classes, and confidently 
look forward to a new era close at hand, a millen- 
nium to come. Let us, for a moment, divest our- 
selves of the conceit which belongs to every age, 
as well as to every country and individual ; and 
let us ask ourselves seriously and candidly: In 
what are we superior to our predecessors ? We 
have inventions that they had not, it is true, and 
these inventions increase in an astonishing ratio ; 
we have clearer ideas of the laws which govern 
the material world, and better contrivances to 
apply these laws and to make the elements sub- 
servient to our comfort. But has the human mind 
really expanded since the days of Pythagoras and 
Plato ? Has the thinker of the nineteenth century 
faculties and perceptions which they had not? 
Have we one virtue more or one vice less than 
former generations ? Has human nature changed, 
or has it even modified its failings? Though 
we succeed in traversing the regions of air as 
easily and swifter than we now do broad conti- 
nents and stormy seas ; though, we count all the 


worlds in the immensity of space ; though we 
snatch from nature her most recondite secrets, 
shall we be aught but men? To the true phi- 
losopher these conquests over the material world 
will be but additional proofs of the greatness of 
God and man's littleness. It is the vanity and 
arrogance of the creature of clay that make him 
believe that by his own exertions he can arrive at 
God-like perfection. The insane research after 
the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life may 
be classed among the many other futile attempts 
of man to invade the immutable decree: "Thus 
far, and no farther." To escape from the moral and 
intellectual imperfections of his nature, there is 
but one way; the creature must humbly and de- 
voutly cast himself into the ever-open arms of the 
Creator and ^seek for knowledge where none 
knocketh in vain. This privilege he has enjoyed 
in all ages, and it is a question which I would 
hesitate to answer whether the progress of physi- 
cal science has not, in many cases at least, rather 
the . effect of making him self-sufficient and too 
confident in his own powers, than of bringing him 
nearer to the knowledge of the true God. It is 
one of the fatal errors of our age in particular, to 
confound the progress of physical science with a 
supposed moral progress of man. "Were it so, the 


Bible would liave been a revelation of science as 
well as of religion, and that if is not is now begin- 
ning to be conceded, thougli by no means so gene- 
rally as true theology would require ; for tlie law 
of God was intended for every age, for every 
country, for every individual, independent of the 
state of science or a peculiar stage of civilization, 
and not to be modified by any change which man 
might make in his material existence. With due 
deference, then, to those philosophers who assert 
that the moral nature of the human species has 
undergone a change at various periods of the 
world's history ; and those enthusiasts who dream 
of an approaching millennium, we hold, that hu- 
man nature has always been the same and always 
will be the same, and that no inventions or dis- 
coveries, however promotive of his material well- 
being, can effect a moral change or bring him 
any nearer to the Divine essence than he was in 
the beginning of his mundane existence. Science 
and knowledge may indeed illumine his earthly 
career, but they can shed no light upon the path 
he is to tread to reach a better world. 

Christ himself has recognized the diversity of 
intellectual gifts in his parable of the talents, from 
which we borrow the very term to designate those 
gifts ; and if, in a community of pure and faithful 


CHristians, there still are many degrees and kinds 
of talents, is it reasonable to suppose tliat in that 
millennium — tlie only one I can imagine — wlien all 
nations shall call on His name with hope and praise, 
all mental imparities of races will be obliterated ? 
There are, at the present time, nations upon whom 
we look down as being inferior in civilization to 
ourselves, yet they are as good — if, indeed, not 
better — Christians than we are as a people. The 
progress of physical science, by facilitating the 
intercourse between distant parts of the world, 
tends, indeed, to diffuse true religion, and in this 
manner — and this manner only — promotes the 
moral good of mankind. But here it is only an 
instrument, and not an agent, as the machines 
which the architect uses to raise his building 
materials do not erect the structure. 

One more reason why the unity of the human 
species cannot be considered a proof of equal in- 
tellectual capability of races. It is a favorite 
method of naturalists to draw an analogy between 
man and the brute creation; and, so far as he be- 
longs to the animal kingdom, this method is un- 
doubtedly correct and legitimate. But, with re- 
gard to man's higher attributes, there is an impas- 
sable barrier between him and the brute, which, in 
the heat of argument, contending parties have not 


always sufficiently respected. The great Prichard 
himself seems sometimes to have lost sight of it.' 
Thus, he speaks of " psychological" diversities in 
varieties of the same undoubted species of animal, 
though it is obvious that animals can have no 
psychological attributes. But I am willing to 
concede to Mr. Prichard all the conclusions he 
derives from this analogy in favor of unity of the 

' Vide Prichard's Natural History of Man, p. 66, et passim. 
" His theory," says Van Amringe, " required that animals should 
be analogous to man. It was therefore highly important that, 
as he was then laying the foundation for all his future arguments 
and conclusions, he should elevate animals to the proper emi- 
nence, to be analogous ; rather than, as Mr. Lawrence did, sink 
man to the level of brutes. It was an ingenious contrivance by 
which he could gain all the advantages, and escape the censures 
of the learned lecturer. It is so simple a contrivance, too — 
merely substituting the word 'psychological' for 'instinctive 
characteristics,' and the whole animal kingdom would instantly 
rise to the proper platform, to be the types of the human family. 
To get the psychology of men and animals thus related, without 
the trouble of philosophically accomplishing so impossible a 
thing, by the mere use of a word, was an ingenious, though not 
an ingenuous achievement. It gave him a specious right to use 
bees and wasps, rats and dogs, sheep, goats, and rabbits — in 
short, the whole animal kingdom — as human psychical analogues, 
which would be amazingly convenient when conclusions were to 
be made." — Natural History of Man, by W. F. Van Amringe. 
1848, p. 459. 



human species. All dogs, lie believes, are derived 
from one pair ; yet, there are a number of varie- 
ties of dogs, and these varieties are different not 
only in external appearance, but in what Mr. 
Prichard would call psychological qualities. No 
shepherd expects to train a common cur to be the 
intelligent guardian of a flock ; no sportsman to 
teach his hounds, or their unmixed progeny, to 
perform the of&ce of setters. That the character- 
istics of every variety of dogs are permanent so 
long as the breed remains pure, every one knows, 
and that their distinctive type remains the same in 
all countries and through all time, is proved by 
the mural paintings of Egypt, which show that, 
2,000 years B. C, they were as well known as in 
our day.^ If, then, this permanency of "psycho- 
logical" (to take Mr. Prichard's ground) diversity 
is compatible with unity of origin in the dog, why 
not in the case of man ? I am far from desiring to 
call into question the unity of our species, but I 
contend that the rule must work both ways, and 
if "psychological" diversities can be permanent 
in the branches of the same species of animals, 
they can be permanent also in the branches of the 
human family. 

' This fact is considered by Dr. Nott as a proof of specific 
difference among dogs. — Types of Mankind. Pbila., 1854. 


In tHe preceding pages, I have endeavored to 
show that the unity of species is no proof of equal 
intellectual capability of races, that mental im- 
parities do not conflict with the universality of 
the gospel tidings, and that the permanency of 
these imparities is consistent with the reasoning 
of the greatest expounder of the unity theory. I 
shall now proceed to state the facts which prove 
the intellectual diversities among the races of man. 
In doing so, it is important to guard against an 
error into which so many able writers have fallen, 
that of comparing individuals rather than masses. 

What we term national character, is the aggre- 
gate of the qualities preponderating in a commu- 
nity. It is obvious that when we speak of the 
artistic genius of the Greeks, we do not mean that 
every native of Hellas and Ionia was an artist ; 
and when we call a nation unwarlike or valorous, 
we do not thereby either stigmatize every indivi- 
dual as a coward, or extol him as a hero. The 
same is the case with races. When, for example, 
we assert that the black race is intellectually in- 
ferior to the white, it is not implied that the most 
intelligent negro should still be more obtuse than 
the most stupid white man. The maximum intel- 
lect and capacity of one race may greatly exceed 
the minimum of another, without placing them on 


an equality. The testimony of history, and the 
results of philanthropic experiment, are the data 
upon which the ethnologist must institute his 
inquiries, if he would arrive at conclusions in- 
structive to humanity. 

Let us take for illustration the white and the 
black races, supposed by many to represent the 
two extremes of the scale of gradation. The 
whole history of the former shows an uninter- 
rupted progress; that of the latter, monotonous 
stagnation. To the one, mankind owes the most 
valuable discoveries in the domain of thought, 
and their practical application; to the other, it 
owes nothing. For ages plunged in the darkest 
gloom of barbarism, there is not one ray of even 
temporary or borrowed improvement to cheer the 
dismal picture of its history, or inspire with hope 
the disheartened philanthropist. At the boundary 
of its territory, the ever-encroaching spirit of 
conquest of the European stops powerless.^ Never, 

1 la 1497, Vasco di Gama sailed around Cape Good Hope ; 
even previous to that, Portuguese vessels had coasted along the 
vrestern shores of Africa. Since that time the Europeans have 
subjected the -whole of the American continents, southern Asia 
and the island world of the Pacific, while Africa is almost as 
unknown as it ever was. The Cape Colony is not in the original 
territory of the negro. Liberia and Sieri-a Leone contain a half- 


in tlie history of tlie world, lias a grander or more 
conclusive experiment been tried than in the case 
of the negro race. We behold them placed in 
immediate possession of the richest island in 
the richest part of the globe, with every ad- 
vantage that climate, soil, geographical situation, 
can afford ; removed from every injurious contact, 
yet with every facility for constant intercourse 
with the most polished nations of the earth; 
inheriting all that the white race had gained by 
the toil of centuries in science, politics, and morals ; 
and what is the result? As if to afford a still 
more irrefragable proof of the mental inequality 
of races, we find separate divisions of the same 
island inhabited, one by the pure, the other by 
a half-breed race ; and the infusion of the white 
blood in the latter case forms a population incon- 
testably and avowedly superior. In opposition to 
such facts, some special pleader, bent upon es- 
tablishing a preconceived notion, ransacks the 
records of history to find a few isolated instances 
where an individual of the inferior race has dis- 
played average ability, and from such exceptional 

breed population, and present experiments by no means tested. 
It may be fairly asserted that nowhere has the power and in- 
telligence of the white race made less impression, produced 
fewer results, than in the domain of the negro. 


cases he deduces conclusions applicable to tlie 
wliole mass ! He points with exultation to a 
negro who calculates, a negro who is an officer of 
artillery in Eussia, a few others who are employed 
in a counting-house. And yet he does not even 
tell us whether these rarce aves are of pure blood 
or not, as is often the case/ Moreover, these in- 
stances are proclaimed to the world with an air of 
triumph, as if they were drawn at random from 
an inexhaustible arsenal of facts, when in reality 
they are all that the most anxious research could 
discover, and form the stock in trade of every 
declaimer on the absolute equality of races. 

Had it pleased the Creator to endow all branches 
of the human family equally, all would then have 
pursued the same career, though, perhaps, not all 
with equal rapidity. Some, favored by circum- 
stances, might have distanced others in the race ; 
a few, peculiarly unfortunately situated, would 
have lagged behind. Still, the progress of all 
would have been in the same direction, all would 
have had the same stages to traverse. Now is this 

' Roberts, the president of the Liberian Republic, boasts of but 
a small portion of African blood in his veins. Sequoyah, the 
often-cited inventor of the Cherokee alphabet, so far from being 
a pure Indian, was the son of a white man. 


tlie case ? There are not a few who assert it. 
From our earliest infancy we are told of the 
savage, barbarous, semi-civilized, civilized, and 
enlightened states. These we are taught to con- 
sider as the steps of the ladder by which man 
climbs np to infinite perfection, we ourselves being 
near the top, while others are either a little below 
us, or have scarcely yet firmly established them- 
selves upon the first rounds. In the beautiful lan- 
guage of Schiller, these latter are to us a mirror 
in which we behold our own ancestors, as an adult 
in the children around him re-witnesses his own 
infancy. This is, in a measure, true of nations of 
the same race, but is it true with regard to differ- 
ent races? It is little short of presumption to 
venture to combat an idea perhaps more exten- 
sively spread than any of our time, yet this we 
shall endeavor to do. Were the differences in 
civilization which we observe in various nations 
of the world, differences of degree only, and not 
of kind, it is obvious that the most advanced in- 
dividual in one degree must closely approach the 
confines of a higher. But this is not the case. 
The highest degree of culture known to Hindoo 
or Chinese civilization, approaches not the pos- 
sessor one step nearer to the ideas and views of 
the European. The Chinese civilization is as 


perfect, in its own way, as ours, nay more so.^ It 
is not a mere child, or even an adult not yet arriv- 
ed at maturity ; it is rather a decrepit old man. 
It too has its degrees ; it too has had its periods 
of infancy, of adult age, of maturity. And when 
we contemplate its fruits, the immense works 
which have been undertaken and completed 
under its legis, the systems of morals and politics 
to which it gave rise, the inventions which signal- 
ized its more vigorous periods, we cannot but 
admit that it is entitled in a high degree to our 
veneration and esteem.^ Moreover it has excel- 

' For the great perfection to ■wHch the Chinese have carried 
the luxuries and amenities of life, see particularly M. Hue's 
Travels in China. He lived among them for years, and, what 
few travellers do, spoke their language so fluently and per- 
fectly that he was enabled, during a considerable number of 
years, to discharge the duties of a missionary, disguised as a 

2 It would be useless to remind our readers of the famous 
Great Wall, the Imperial Canals, that largest of the cities of 
the world — Pekin. The various treatises of the Chinese on morals 
and politics, especially that of Confucius, have been admired 
by all European thinkers. Consult PautMer's elaborate work on 
China. It is equally well known that the Chinese knew the 
art of printing, gunpowder and its uses, the mariner's compass, 
etc., centuries before we did. For the general diffusion of 
elementary knowledge among the Chinese, see Davis's Sketches, 
and other authors. Those who may think me a biassed pane- 


lencies whicli our civilization as yet lias not ; it 
pervades all classes, onrs not. In tlie whole Chinese 
empire, comprising, as it does, one-third of the 
human race, we find few individuals unable to 
read and write ; in China proper, none. How many 
European countries can pretend to this? And 
yet, because Chinese civilization has a different 
tendency from ours, because its course lies in an- 
other direction, we call it a semi-civilization. At 
what time of the world's history then have we — 
the civilized nations — passed through this stage of 
semi-civilization ? 

The monuments of Sanscrit literature, the mag- 
nificent remains of palaces and temples, the great 
number of ingenious arts, the elaborate systems of 
metaphysics, attest a state of intellectual culture, 

gyrist of the Chinese, I refer to the following works as among 
the most reliable of the vast number written on the subject: — 

Description Hislorique, Oeographique, et Litieraire de la Chine. 
Par M. G. Pauthier. Paris, 1839. 

China Opened. By Rev. Chs. Gutzlaff. London, 1838. 

China, Political, Commercial, and Social. By R. Montgomery 
Martin. London, 1847. 

Sketches of China. By John F. Davis. London, 1841. 

And above all, for amusing and instructive reading. 

Journey through the Chinese Umpire. By M. Hue. New 
York, 1 855 ; and 

Melanges Asiaiiques. Par Abel Remusat. Paris, 1835. 


far from contemptible, among the Hindoos. Yet 
tlieir civilization, too, we term a semi- civilization, 
albeit it is as little like the Chinese as it is like 
anything ever seen in Europe. 

Few who will carefully investigate and reflect 
•upon these facts, will doubt that the terms Hin- 
doo, Chinese, European civilization, are not indica- 
tive of degrees only, but mean the respective 
development of powers essentially different in 
their nature. We may consider our civilization 
the best, but it is both arrogant and unphilo- 
sophical to consider it as the only one, or as the 
standard by which to measure all others. This 
idea, moreover, is neither peculiar to ourselves nor 
to our age. The Chinese even yet look upon us 
as barbarians ; the Hindoos probably do the same. 
The Greeks considered all extra-Hellenic peoples 
as barbarians. The Eomans ascribed the same 
pre-excellency to themselves, and the predilections 
for these nations, which we imbibe already in 
our academic years from our classical studies, 
cause us to share the same opinion, and to view 
with their prejudices nations less akin to us than 
they. The Persians, for instance, whom the 
Greeks self- complacently styled outside-barbarians, 
were, in reality, a highly cultivated people, as no 
one can deny who will examine the facts which 


modern researcli has brouglit to light. Their arts, 
if not Hellenic, still attained a high degree of per- 
fection. Their architecture, though not of Grecian 
style, "was not inferior in magnificence and splen- 
dor. Nay, I for one am willing to render myself 
obnoxious to the charge of classical heresy, by 
regarding the pure Persians as a people, in some 
respects at least, superior to the Greeks. Their 
religious system seems to me a much purer, nobler 
one than the inconsistent, immoral mythology of 
our favorites. Their ideas of a good and an evil 
power in perpetual conflict, and of a mediator who 
loves and protects the human race ; their utter de- 
testation of every species of idolatry, have to me 
something that prepossesses me in their favor. 

I have now alleged, in a cursory manner, my 
principal reasons for considering civilizations as 
specifically distinct. To further dilate upon the 
subject, though I greatly desire to do so, would 
carry me too far ; not, indeed, beyond the scope 
of the inquiries proposed in this volume, but be- 
yond the limited space assigned for my intro- 
duction. I shall add only, that — assuming the in- 
tellectual equality of all branches of the human 
family — we can assign no causes for the differ 
ences of degree only of their development. Geo- 
graphical position cannot explain them, because the 
people who have made the greatest advance, have 


not always been the most favorably situated. The 
greatest geographical advantages have been in 
possession of others that made no use of them, 
and became of importance only by changing own- 
ers. To cite one of a thousand similar instances. 
The glorious Mississippi Yalley, with its innu- 
merable tributary streams, its unparalleled fertility 
and mineral wealth, seems especially adapted by 
nature for the abode of a great agricultural and 
commercial nation. Yet, the Indians roamed over 
it, and plied their canoes on its rivers, without ever 
being aware of the advantages they possessed. The 
Anglo-Saxon, on the contrary, no sooner perceived 
them than he dreamed of the conquest of the world. 
We may therefore compare such and other advan- 
tages to a precious instrument which it requires 
the skill of the workman to use. To ascribe dif- 
ferences of civilizations to the differences of laws 
and political institutions, is absolutely begging the 
question, for such institutions are themselves an 
effect and an inherent portion of the civilization, 
and when transplanted into foreign soils, never 
prosper. That the moral and physical well-being 
of a nation will be better promoted when liberty 
presides over her councils than when stern despot- 
ism sits at the helm, no one can deny ; but. it is 
obvious that the nation must first be prepared to 

AjS'alytical introduction. 41 

receive tlie blessings of liberty, lest tbey prove a 

Here is the place for a few remarks upon tlie 
epitbet Christian, applied to our civilization. Mr. 
Gobineau justly observes, that he knows of no 
social or political order of things to which this term 
may fitly be said to belong. We may justly speak of 
a Brahminic, Buddhistic, Pagan, Judaic civilization, 
because the social or political systems designated 
by these appellations were intimately connected 
with a more or less exclusive theocratical formula. 
Eeligion there prescribed everything : social and 
political laws, government, manners, nay, in many 
instances, dress and food. Bat one of the distin- 
guishing characteristics of Christianity is its uni- 
versality. Eight at the beginning it disclaimed 
all interference in temporal affairs. Its precepts 
may be followed under every system of govern- 
ment, in every path of life, every variety of modes 
of existence. Such is, in substance, Mr. Gobineau's 
view of the subject. To this I would add a few 
comments of my own. The error is not one of 
recent date. Its baneful effects have been felt 
from almost the first centuries of the establishment 
of the Church down to our times. Human legis- 
lation ought, indeed, to be in strict accordance with 
the law of God, but to commend one system as 


Christian, and proscribe another as unchristian, is 
opening the door to an endless train of frightful 
evils. This is what, virtually, they do who would 
call a civilization Christian, for civilization is the 
aggregate social and political development of a 
nation, or a race, and the political is always in 
direct proportion to the social progress; both 
mutually influence each other. By speaking of a 
Christian civilization, therefore, we assert that 
some particular political as well as social system, 
is most conformable to the spirit of our religion. 
Hence the union of church and State, and the in- 
fluence of the former in temporal affairs — an in- 
fluence which few enlightened churchmen, at least 
of our age, would wish to claim. Not to speak of 
the danger of placing into the hands of any class 
of men, however excellent, the power of declaring 
what legislation is Christian or not, and thus in- 
vesting them with supreme political as well as 
spiritual authority; it is sufdcient to point out the 
disastrous effects of such a system to the interests 
of the church itself. The opponents of a particular 
political organization become also the opponents 
of the religion which advocates and defends it. 
The indifferentism of Grermany, once so zealous in 
the cause of religion, is traceable to this source. 
The people are dissatisfied with their political 


macliinery, and hate the churcli which vindicates 
it, and stigmatizes as impious every attempt at 
change. Indeed, one has but to read the religious 
journals of Prussia, to understand the lukewarm- 
ness of that people. Mr, Brace, in his Home Life 
in Germany^ says that many intelligent natives of 
that country had told him : Why should we go to 
church to hear a sermon that extols an order of 
things which we know to be wicked, and in the 
highest degree detestable ? How can a religion 
be true which makes adherence to such an order 
a fundamental article of its creed? 

One of the features of our constitution which 
Mr. De Tocqueville most admires, is the utter 
separation of church and State. Mere religious 
toleration practically prevails in most European 
countries, but this total disconnection of the re- 
ligious from the civil institutions, is peculiar to 
the United States, and a lesson which it has given 
to the rest of the world. 

I do not mean that every one who makes use of 
the word Christian civilization thereby implies a 
union of church and State, but I wish to point out 
the principle upon which this expression is based, 
viz : that a certain social and political order of things 
is more according to the spirit of the Christian re- 
ligion than another ; and the consequences which 


must, or at least may, follow from tlie practical 
acceptation of this principle. Taking my view of 
the subject, few, I think, will dispute that the term 
Christian civilization is a misnomer. Of the civil- 
izing influence of Christianity, I have spoken be- 
fore, but this influence would be as great in the 
Chinese or Hindoo civilizations, without, in the 
least, obliterating their characteristic features. 

Few terms of equal importance are so vaguely 
defined as the term civilization ; few definitions 
are so difficult. In common parlance, the word 
civilization is used to designate that moral, intel- 
lectual, and material condition at which the so- 
called European race, whether occupying the East- 
ern or the Western continent, has arrived in the 
nineteenth century. But the nations comprised in 
this race differ from one another so extensively, that 
it has been found necessary to invent a new term : 
enlightenment. Thus, Great Britain, France, the 
United States, Switzerland, several of the States 
of the German Confederacy, Sweden, and Den- 
mark, are called enlightened; while Eussia, Spain, 
Portugal, Italy, Brazil, and the South American 
republics are merely civilized. Now, I ask, in 
what does the difference consist ? 

Is the diffusion of knowledge by popular edu- 
cation to be the test? Then Great Britain and 


France would fall far below some countries now 
placed in tlie second, or even third rank. Denmark 
and China would be the most civilized countries 
in the world ; nay, even Thibet, and the rest of 
Central Asia, would take precedence before the 
present champions of civilization. The whole of 
Germany and Switzerland would come next, then 
the eastern and middle sections of the United States, 
then the southern and western ; and, after them, 
Great Britain and France. Still retaining the 
same scale, Eussia would actually be ranked above 
Italy, the native clime of the arts. In Great 
Britain itself, Scotland Avould far surpass England 
in civilization.' 

' Unwilling to introduce statistic pedantry into a composition 
of so humble pretensions as an introduction, I have refrained to 
give the figures — not always very accurate, I admit — upon which 
the preceding gradation is based, viz : the number of persons 
able to read and write in each of the above-named countries. 
How far England and France are behindhand in this respect, 
compared either with ourselves, or with other European nations, 
is tolerably well known ; but the fact that not only in China 
proper, but in Thibet, Japan, Anam, Tonquin, etc., few can be 
found devoid of that acquirement, will probably meet with many 
incredulous readers, though it is mentioned by almost every 
traveller. {^SeeJ. ilohV s Annual Report to the Asiatic Society, 1851.) 
But, it may be safely asserted that, in the whole of that portion 
of Asia lying south of the Altai Mountains, including Japan, 


Is the perfection to which the arts are carried, 
the test of civilization ? Then Bavaria and Italy 

altogether the most populous region of the globe, the percentage 
of males unable to read and write is by far smaller than in the 
entire population of Europe. Be it well understood, that I do 
not, therefore, claim any superiority for the inhabitants of the 
former region over those of the latter. 

"In China," says M. Hue, "there are not, as in Europe, 
public libraries and reading-rooms ; but those who have a taste 
for reading, and a desire to instruct themselves, can satisfy their 
inclinations very easily, as books are sold here at a lower price 
than in any other country. Besides, the Chinese find everywhere 
something to read ; they can scarcely take a step without seeing 
some of the chai'acters of which they are so proud. One may 
say, in fact, that all China is an immense library ; for inscriptions, 
sentences, moral precepts, are found in every corner, written in 
letters of all colors and all sizes. The fa9ades of the tribunals, 
the pagodas, the public monuments, the signs of the shops, the 
doors of the houses, the interior of the apartments, the corridors, 
all are full of fine quotations from the best authors. Teacups, 
plates, vases, fans, are so many selections of poems, often chosen 
with much taste, and prettily printed. A Chinese has no need 
to give himself much trouble in order to enjoy the finest produc- 
tions of his country's literature. He need only take his pipe, 
and walk out, with his nose in the air, through the pi-iucipal 
streets of the first town he comes to. Let him enter the poorest 
house in the "most wretched village; the destitution maybe com- 
plete, things the most necessary will be wanting ; but he is sure 
of finding some fine maxims written out on strips of red paper. 
Thus, if those grand large characters, which look so terrific in 
our eyes, though they delight the Chinese, are really so difficult 


are tlie most civilized countries. Then are we far 
behind the Greeks in civilization. Or, are the 
useful arts to carry the prize ? Then the people 
showing the greatest mechanical genius is the most 

Are political institutions to be the test ? Then 
the question, " Which is the best government ?" 
must first be decided. But the philosojohic answer 
would be : " That which is best adapted to the 
genius of the people, and therefore best answers the 
purposes for which all government is instituted," 
Those who believe in the abstract superiority of 
any governmental theory, may be compared to the 
tailor who would finish some beau- ideal of a coat, 
without taking his customer's measure. We could 
afford to laugh at such theorists, were not their 
schemes so often recorded in blood in the annals 
of the world. Besides, if this test be admitted, 
no two could agree upon what was a civilized 
community. The panegyrist of constitutional 
monarchy would call England the only civilized 
country ; the admirer of municipal liberty would 
point to the Hanse towns of the Middle Ages, and 

to learn, at least the people have the most ample opportunities 
of studying them, almost in play, and of impressing them in- 
efifaceably on their memories." — A Journey through the Chinese 
Empire, vol. i. pp. 327-328. 


tlieir miserable relics, the present free cities of 
Germany ; the friend of sober republicanism wonld 
exclude from the pale of civilization all but the 
United States and Switzerland ; the lover of pure 
democracy would contend that mankind had retro- 
graded since the time of Athens, and deplore that 
civilization was now confined to some few rude 
mountain or nomadic tribes with few and simple 
wants ; finally, the defender of a paternal autocracy 
would sigh for the days of Trajan or Marcus Aure- 
lius, and hesitate whether, in our age, Austria or 
Russia deserved the crown. 

ISTeither pre-eminence in arts and sciences, nor 
in popular instruction, nor in government, can 
singly be taken as the test of civilization. Pre- 
eminence in all, no country enjoys. Yet all these 
are signs of civilization — the only ones by which 
we distinguish and recognize it. How, then, shall 
we define this term ? I would suggest a simple 
and, I think, sufficiently explicit definition : Civil- 
ization is the continuous development of man's 
moral and intellectual powers. As the aggregate 
of these differs in different nations, so differs the 
character of their civilization. In one, civilization 
manifests itself in the perfection of the arts, either 
useful or polite ; in another, in the cultivation of 
the sciences; in a third, in the care bestowed upon 


politics, or, in tlie diffusion of knowledge among 
the masses. Eacli has its own merits, each its own 
defects ; none combines the excellencies of all, but 
whichever combines the most with fewest defects, 
may be considered the best, or most perfect. It is 
because not keeping this obvious truth in view 
that John Bull laughs (or used to laugh) self-com- 
placently at Monsieur Crapaud, and that we our- 
selves sometimes laugh at his political capers, for- 
getting that the thinkers of his nation have, for 
the last century at least, led the van in science and 
politics — yes, even in politics.^ It is, for the same 
reason, that the Frenchman laughs at the German, 
or the Dutchman; that the foreigner cannot under- 
stand that there is an American civilization as well, 
and, bringing his own country's standard along 
with him, finds everything either too little or too 
great ; or, that the American, going to the native 

1 Is it necessary to call to the mind of the reader, that the 
most prominent physicians, the greatest chemists, the best ma- 
thematicians, were French, and that to the same nation belong 
the Comptes, the De Maistres, the Guizots, the De Tocquevilles ; 
or that, notwithstanding its political extravaganzas, every liberal 
theory was first fostered in its bosom ? The father of our demo- 
cratic party was the pupil of French governmental philosophy, 
by the lessons of which even his political opponents profited 
quite as much as by its errors. 



soil of the ripest scholars in the world, and seeing 
brick and mortar carried up bj hand to the fourth 
story of a building in process of erection,^ or seeing 
five men painfully perform a job which his young- 
est son would have accomplished without trouble 
by the simplest, perhaps self- in vented, contrivance, 
revolves in his own mind how it is possible that 
these people — when the schoolmaster is abroad, 
too — are still so many centuries "behind the time." 
Thus each nation has its own standard by which 
it judges its neighbors ; but when extra-European 
nations, such as the Chinese or Hindoos, are to be 
judged, all unite in voting them outside barbarians. 
Here, then, we have indubitable proofs of moral 
and intellectual diversities, not only in what are 

* Brace, in his Home Life in Germany, mentions an instance 
of this kind, but not having the volume at hand, I cannot cite 
the page. To every one, however, that has travelled in Europe, 
or has not, such facts are familiar. It is well known, for in- 
stance, that in some of the most polished European countries, 
the wooden ploughshare is still used ; and that, in Paris, that 
metropolis of arts and fashion, every drop of water must be 
can-ied, in buckets, from the public fountains to the Dutchess' 
boudoir in the first, and to the Grisette's garret in the seventh 
story. Compare this with the United States, where — not to 
mention Fairmount and Croton — the smallest town, almost, has 
her water-works, if required by her topography. Are we, then, 
so infinitely more civilized than France ? 


generally termed different races, but even in nations 
apparently belonging to tire same race, Nor do I 
see in ttiis diversity ought that can militate against 
our ideas of universal brotherhood. Among in- 
dividuals, diversity of talent dees not preclude 
friendly intercourse; on the contrary, it promotes 
it, for rivals seldom are friends. Neither does 
superior ability exempt us from the duties which 
we owe to our fellow-man. 

I have repeatedly made use of the analogy be- 
tween societies and the individuals that compose 
them. 1 cannot more clearly express my idea of 
civilization than by recurring to it again. Civiliza- 
tion, then, is to nations what the development of 
his physical and intellectual powers is to an indi- 
vidual ; indeed, it is nothing but the aggregate 
result of all these individual powers ; a common 
reservoir, to which each contributes a share, whether 
large or small. The analogy may be extended 
further. Nations may be considered as themselves 
members of societies, bearing the same relations 
to each other and to the whole, as individuals. 
Thus, all the nations of Europe contribute, each 
in its own manner and degree, to what has been 
called the Uuroj^ean civilization. And, in the same 
manner, the nations of Asia form distinct systems of 
civilizations. But all these systems ultimately tend 


to one great aim — the general welfare of mankind. 
I would therefore carefully distinguish, between 
the civilizations of particular nations, of clusters 
of nations, and of the whole of our species. To 
borrow a metaphor from the mechanism of the 
universe, the first are like the planets of a solar 
system, revolving — though in different orbits, and 
with different velocities — around the same com- 
mon centre ; but the solar systems again — with all 
their planets — revolve round another, more distant 

Let us take two individuals of undoubted intel- 
lect. One maybe a great mathematician, the other 
a great statesman. Place the first at the head of 
a cabinet, the second in an observatory, and the 
mathematician will as signally fail in correctly 
observing the changes in the political firmament, 
as the other in noting those in the heavenly. Yet, 
who would decide which had the superior intellect ? 
This diversity of gifts is not the result of educa- 
tion. No training, however ingenious, could have 
changed an Arago into a Pitt, or vice versa. Ea- 
phael could under no circumstances have become 
a Handel, or either of them a Milton. Nay, men 
differ in following the same career. Can any one 
conceive that Michael Angelo could ever have 
painted Vandyke's pictures, Shakspeare written 


Milton's verses, Mozart composed Eossini's music, 
or Jefferson followed Hamilton's policy ? Here, 
then, we liave excellencies, perhaps of equal de- 
gree, but of very different kinds. ISTature, from 
her inexhaustible store, has not only unequally, 
but variously, bestowed her favors, and this infinite 
variety of gifts, as infinite as the variety of faces, 
God has doubtless designed for the happiness of 
men, and for their more intimate union, in making 
them dependent one on another. As each creature 
sings his Maker's praise in his own voice and ca- 
dence, the sparrow in his twitter, the nightingale 
in her warble, so each human being proclaims the 
Almighty's glory by the rightful use of his talents, 
whether great or small, for the promotion of his 
fellow-creatures' happiness ; one may raise pious 
emotion in the breast by the tuneful melody of his 
song ; another by the beauty and vividness of his 
images on canvas or in verse ; a third discovers 
new worlds — additional evidences of His omnipo- 
tence who made them — and, by his calculations, 
demonstrates, even to the sceptic, the wonderful 
mechanism of the universe; to another, again, it 
is given to guide a nation's councils, and, by His 
assistance, to avert danger, or correct evils. Fie 
■upon those who would raise man's powers above 
those of God, and ascribe diversity of talents to 


education and accident, rather tlian to His wisdom 
and design. Can we not admire tlie Almighty as 
well in the variety as in a fancied uniformity of 
His works? Harmony consists in the union of 
different sounds ; the harmony of the universe, in 
the diversity of its parts. 

What is true of a society composed of indivi- 
duals, is true of that vast political assemblage com- 
posed of nations. That each has a career to run 
through, a destiny to fulfil, is my firm and un- 
wavering belief. That each must be gifted with 
peculiar qualities for that purpose, is a mere corol- 
lary of the proposition. This has been the opinion 
of all ages : " The men of Bceotia are noted for 
their stolidity, those of Attica for their wit." Com- 
mon parlance proves that it is now, to-day, the 
opinion of all mankind, whatever theorists may 
say. Many affect to deride the idea of " manifest 
destiny" that possesses us Anglo-Americans, but 
who in the main doubts it ? Who, that will but 
cast one glance on the map, or look back upon 
our history of yesterday only, can think of seri- 
ously denying that great purposes have been ac- 
complished, will still be accomplished, and that 
these purposes were designed and guided by some- 
thing more than blind chance ? Unroll the page 
of history — of the great chain of human events. 


it is true, we perceive but few links ; like eternity, 
its beginning is wrapt in darkness, its end a mys- 
tery above human comprebension — ^but, in tbe 
vast drama presented to us, in wbicb nations form 
the cast, we see each play its part, then disappear. 
Some, as Mr. Gobineau has it, act the kings and 
rulers, others are content with inferior roles. 

As it is incompatible with the wisdom of the 
Creator, to suppose that each nation was not spe- 
cially fitted^ for the part assigned to it, we may 

' Since writing the above, I lit upon the following striking 
confirmation of my idea by Dr. Pickering, whose analogism here 
so closely resembles mine, as almost to make me suspect myself 
of unconscious plagiarism. "While admitting the general truth, 
that mankind are essentially alike, no one doubts the existence 
of character, distinguishing not only individuals, but communi- 
ties and nations. I am persuaded that there is, besides, a 
character of race. It would not be difficult to select epithets ; 
such as ' amphibious, enduring, insititious ;' or to point out 
• as accomplished by one race of men, that which seemed beyond 
the powers of another. Each race possessing its peculiar points 
of excellence, and, at the same time, counterbalancing defects, 
it may be that union was required to attain the full measure of 
civilization. In the organic world, each field requires a new 
creation ; each change in circiimstances going beyond the con- 
stitution of a plant or animal, is met by a new adaptation, until 
the whole universe is full ; while, among the immense variety of 
created beings, two kinds are hardly found fulfilling the same 
precise purpose. Some analogy may possibly exist in the human 


judge of what they were capable of bj what they 
have accomplished. 

History, then, must be our guide ; and never 
was epoch more propitious, for never has her lamp 
shone brighter. The study of this important 
science, which Niebuhr truly calls the raagistra 
vitce,^ has received within our days an impulse 
such as it never had before. The invaluable 
archaeological treasures which the linguists and 
antiquarians of Europe have rescued from the 
literature and monuments of the great nations of 
former ages, bring — as it were — back to life again 
the mouldered generations of the dim past. We 
no longer content ourselves with chronological 
outlines, mere names, and unimportant accounts 
of kings and their quarrels ; we seek to penetrate 
into the inner life of those multitudes who acted 
their part on the stage of history, and then disap- 
peared, to understand the modes of thought, the 
feelings, ideas, instincts, which actuated them, and 
made them what they were. The hoary pyramids 
of the Nile valley are forced to divulge their age, 

family ; and it may even be questioned, whether any one of the 
races existing singly would, up to the present day, have extended 
itself over the whole surface of the globe." — The Races of Man, 
and their Geographical Distribution. By Chaeles Pickering, 
M. D. Boston, 1841. {U. S. Exploring Expedition, vol. ix. p. 200.) 


tlie date of a former civilization ; tlie temples and 
sepulchres, to fnrnisli a minute account of even 
the private life of their builders ;^ the arrow-headed 
characters on the disinterred bricks of the sites of 
Babylon and Nineveh, are no longer a secret to 
the indefatigable orientalists; the classic writers 
of Hindostan and China find their most zealous 
scholiasts, and profoundest critics, in the capitals 
of "Western Europe. The dross of childish fables, 
which age after age has transmitted to its succes- 
sor under the name of history, is exposed to the 
powerful furnace of reason and criticism, and the 
pure ore extracted, by such men as Niebuhr, Heeren, 
Eanke, Gibbon, Grote. The enthusiastic lover of 
ancient Eome now sees her early history in clearer, 
truer colors than did her own historians. 

' Since Champollion's fortunate discovery of the Rosetta 
stone, which furnished the key to the hieroglyphics, the decipher- 
ing of these once so mysterious characters has made such pro- 
gress, that Lepsius, the great modern Egyptologist, declares it 
possible to write a minute court gazette of the reign of Ramses 
II., the Sesostris of the Greeks, and even of monarchs as far back 
as the IVth dynasty. To understand that this is no vain boast, 
the reader must remember that these hieroglj'phics mostly con- 
tain records of private or royal lives, and that the mural paint- 
ings in the temples and sepulchral chambers, generally represent 
scenes illustrative of trades, or other occupations, games, etc., 
practised among the people of that early day. 


But, if history is indispensable to ethnology, 
the latter is no less so to a true understanding of 
history. The two sciences mutually shed light on 
one another's path, and though one of them is as 
yet in its infancy, its wonderful progress in so 
short a time, and the almost unparalleled attention 
which it has excited at all hands, are bright omens 
for the future. It will be obvious that, by ethnology^ 
we do not mean ethnography^ with which it has long 
been synonymous. Their meaning differs in the 
same manner, they bear almost the same relation 
to one another as geology and geograiphy. While 
ethnography contents herself with the mere descrip- 
tion and classification of the races of man, ethno- 
logy, to borrow the expressive language of the 
editor of the London Ethnological Journal^ " inves- 
tigates the mental and physical differences of man- 
kind, and the organic laws upon which they de- 
pend; seeks to deduce from these investigations 
principles of human guidance, in all the important 
relations of social and national existence,'" The 
importance of this study cannot be better expressed 
than in the words of a writer in the North British 
Review for August, 18 i9: "No one that has not 

1 Ethnological Journal, edited by Luke Burke, London, 1848 ; 
June 1, No. 1, from Types of Mankind. By Nott and Gliddon, 
p. 49. 


worked mucli in tlie element of history, can be 
aware of tlie immense importance of clearly keep- 
ing in view the differences of race that are dis- 
cernible among the nations that inhabit different 

parts of the world In speculative history, 

in questions relating to the past career and the 
future destinies of nations, it is only hy a firm and 
efficient handling of this conception of our species^ as 
hrolcen up into so many groups or masses, physiologi- 
cally different to a certain extent, that any progress 
can he made, or any available conclusions accurately 
arrived at^^ 

But in attempting to divide mankind into such 
groups, an ethnologist is met by a serious and ap- 
parently insurmountable difficulty. The gradation 
of color is so imperceptible from the clearest white 
to the jettest black ; and even anatomical pecu- 
liarities, normal in one branch, are found to exist, 
albeit in exceptional cases, in many others ; so 
that the ethnographers scarce know where to stop 
in their classification, and while some recognize 
but three grand varieties, others contend for five, 
for eleven, or even for a much greater number. 
This difficulty arises, in my estimation, mainly 
from the attempt to class mankind into different 

' From Types of Mankind. By Nott and Gliddon, p. 52. 


species, that is, groups who have a separate origin ; 
and also, from the proneness to draw deductions 
from individual instances, by which almost any 
absurdity can be sustained, or truth refnted. As 
we have already inveighed against the latter error, 
and shall therefore try to avoid falling into it ; and 
as we have no desire to enter the field of discus- 
sion about unity or plurality of species, we hope, 
in a great measure, to obviate the difficulties that 
beset the path of so many inquirers. By the word 
race^ we mean, both here and in the body of the 

' The term "race" is of relative meaning, and, thougli often 
erroneously used synonymously with species, by no means signi- 
fies . the same. The most strenuous advocates of sameness of 
species, use it to designate well-defined groups, as the white and 
black. If we consider ourselves warranted by the language of 
the Bible, to believe in separate origins of the human family, 
then, indeed, it may be considered as similar in meaning to 
species ; otherwise, it must signify but subdivisions of one. We 
may therefore speak of ten or a hundred races of man, without 
impugning their being descended from the same stock. All that 
is here contended for is, that the distinctive features of such 
races, in whatever manner they may have originated, are now 
persistent. Two men may, the one arrive at the highest honors 
of the State, the other, with every facility at his command, 
forever remain in mediocrity. Yet, these two men may be 

That the question of species, when disconnected from any 
theological bearing, is one belonging exclusively to the province 


work, such branches of the human family as are 
distinguished in the aggregate by certain well-de- 
fined physical or mental peculiarities, independent 
of the question whether they be of identical or 
diverse origin. For the sake of simplicity, these 
races are arranged in several principal classes, ac- 
cording to their relative affinities and resemblances. 
The most popular system of arrangement is that 
of Blumenbach, who recognizes five grand divi- 
sions, distinguished by appellations descriptive 
either of color or geographical position, viz : the 
White, Circassian, or European; the Yellow, Al- 
taic, Asiatic, or Mongolian ; the Eed, American, 
or Indian ; the Brown, or Malay ; and, lastly, the 
Black, African, or negro. This division, though 
the most commonl}^ adopted, has no superior claims 
above any other. Not only are its designations 
liable to very serious objections, but it is, in itself, 
entirely arbitrary. The Hottentot differs as much 
from the negro as the latter does from the Malay ; 
and the Polynesian from the Malay more than the 
American from the Mongolian. Upon the same 

of the naturalist, aud in which the metaphysician can have but 
a subordinate part, may be illustrated by a homely simile. Di- 
versity of talent in the same family involves no doubt of parent- 
age ; but, if one child be born with a black skin and woolly haii', 
questions about the paternity might indeed arise. 


principle, then, the number of classes might be 
indefinitely extended. Mr. Gobineau thought three 
classes sufficient to answer every purpose, and these 
he calls respectively the white, yellow, and black, 
Mr. Latham,' the great ethnographer, adopts a 
system almost precisely similar to our author's, 
and upon grounds entirely different. Though, for 
my own part, I should prefer a greater number of 
primary divisions, I confess that this coincidence 
of opinion in two men, pursuing, independent of, 
and unknown to each other, different paths of in- 
vestigation, is a strong evidence of the correctness 
of their system, which, moreover, has the merit 
of great simplicity and clearness. 

It must be borne in mind that the races com- 
prised under these divisions, are by no means to 
be considered equal among themselves. We should 
lay it down as a general truth, that while the en- 
tire groups differ principally in degree of intellect- 
ual capacity, the races comprised in each differ 
among themselves rather in kind. Thus, we as- 
sert upon the testimony of history, that the white 
races are superior to the yellow ; and these, in turn, 
to the black. But the Lithuanian and the Anglo- 
Saxon both belong to the same group of races, and 

' Natural History of the Varieties of 3Tan. By Robert Gor- 
don Latham. London, 1850. 


yet, history shows that they differ ; so do the Sa- 
moyede and the Chinese, the negro of Lower 
Guinea, and the Fellah. These differences, observ- 
able among nations classed under the same head, 
as, for instance, the difference between the Eus- 
sians and Italians (both white), we express in 
every day's language by the word "genius," Thus, 
we constantly hear persons speak of the artistic, 
administrative, nautical genius of the Greeks, Eo- 
mans, and Phenicians, respectively; or, such 
phrases as these, which I borrow from Mr, Gobi- 
neau: "Napoleon rightly understood the genius 
of his nation when he reinstated the Church, and 
placed the supreme authority on a secure basis ; 
Charles I. and his adviser did not, when they at- 
tempted to bend the neck of Englishmen under 
the yoke of absolutism." But, as the word genius 
applied to the capacities or tendencies of a nation, 
in general implies either too much or too little, it 
has been found convenient, in this work, to sub- 
stitute for it another term — instinct. By the use 
of this word, it was not intended to assimilate man 
to the brute, to express aught differing from intel- 
lect or the reasoning capacity ; but only to desig- 
nate the peculiar manner in which that intellect 
or reasoning capacity manifests itself; in other 
words, the special adaptation of a nation for the 


part assigned to it in the world's history ; and, as 
this part is performed involuntarily and, for the 
most part, nnconsciously, the term was deemed 
neither improper nor inappropriate. I do not, 
however, contend for its correctness, . though I 
could cite the authority of high names for its use 
in this sense ; I contend merely for its convenience, 
for we thereby gain an easy method of making 
distinctions of hind in the mental endowments of 
races, in cases where we wonld hesitate to make 
distinctions of degree. In fact, it is saying of mul- 
titudes only what we say of an individual by 
speaking of his talent ; with this difference, how- 
ever, that by talent we understand excellency of 
a certain order, while instinct applies to every 
grade. Two persons of equal intellectual calibre 
may have, one a talent for mathematics, the other 
for literature ; that is, one can exhibit his intellect 
to advantage only in calenlation, the other only in 
writing. Thus, of two nations standing equally 
high in the intellectual scale, one shall be distin 
guished for the high perfection attained in the fine 
arts, the other for the same perfection in the useful. 
At the risk of wearying the reader with my 
definitions, I must yet inflict on him another 
which is essential to the right understanding of the 
following pages. In common parlance, the terms 


nation 2aidi jjeople have become strictly synonymous. 
We speak indijfferently of the French people, or 
the French nation ; the English people, or the 
English nation. If we make any distinction at 
all, we perhaps designate by the first expression 
the masses ; by the second, rather the sovereignty. 
Thus, we say the French people are versatile, the 
French nation is at war with Eussia. But even 
this distinction is not always made. 

My purpose is to restore the word nation to its 
original signification, in which it expresses the 
same as the word race, including, besides, the idea 
of some sort of political organization. It is, in 
fact, nothing but the Latin equivalent of that 
word, and was applied, like tribe, to a collection 
of individuals not only living under the same go- 
vernment, but also claiming a closer consanguinity 
to one another than to their neighbors. It differs 
from tribe only in this respect, that it is applied to 
greater multitudes, as for instance to a coalescence 
of several closely-allied tribes, which gives rise to 
more complicated political forms. It might there- 
fore be defined by an ethnologist as a jiopulation 
consisting of homogeneous ethnical elements. 

The word people^ on the contrary, when applied 
to an aggregation of individuals living under the 
same government, implies no immediate consaugui- 


neous ties among them. Nation does not neces- 
sarily imply political unity; people^ always. Thus, 
we speak of the Greek nation^ though the Greeks 
were divided into a number of independent and 
very dissimilar sovereignties; but, we say the 
Eoman jpeople^ though the whole population of the 
empire obeyed the same supreme head. The Eus- 
sian empire contains within its limits, besides the 
Eussians proper, an almost equal number of Cos- 
sacks, Calmucks, Tartars, Fins, and a number of 
other races, all very different from one another 
and still more so from the Eussians, not only in 
language and external appearance, but in manners, 
modes of thinking : in one word, in instincts. By 
the expression Eussian people I should therefore 
understand the whole population of that empire ; by 
Eussian nation, only the dominant race to which 
the Czar belongs. It is hardly possible to exag- 
gerate the importance of keeping in view this dis- 
tinction, as I shall prove by another instance. The 
Hungarian people are very nearly equally divided 
(exclusive of about one million Germans) into two 
nations, the Magyars and the Sclaves. Not only 
have these two, though for centuries occupying the 
same soil, remained unmixed and distinct, but the 
most intense antipathy exists between them, which 
only requires an occasion to display itself in acts 


of bloodshed and relentless cruelty, that would 
make the tenants of hell shudder. Such an occa- 
sion was the recent revolution, in which, while the 
Magyars fought like lions for their independence, 
the Sclaves, knowing that they would not partici- 
pate in any advantage the others might gain, 
proved more formidable opponents than the Aus- 

If I have been successful in my discrimination 
between the two words, it follows plainly that a 
member of one nation, strictly speaking, can no 
more become a member of another by process of 
law, than a man, by adopting a child, can make it 
the fruit of his loins. This rule, though correct 
in the abstract, does not ahvays apply to indivi- 
dual cases ; but these, as has already been remarked, 
cannot be made the groundwork of general de- 
ductions. In conclusion of this somewhat digres- 

' The collision between these two nationalities, only a few 
years ago, was attended by scenes so revolting — transcending 
even the horrors of the Corcyrian sedition, the sack of Magde- 
burg, or the bloodiest page in the French Revolution — that, for 
the honor of human nature, I would gladly disbelieve the ac- 
counts given of them. But the testimony comes from neutral 
sources, the friends of either party being interested in keeping 
silence. I shall have occasion to allude to this subject again, 
and therefore reserve further details for a note in the body of 
the work. 


sional definition, I -would observe that, owing to 
tlie great intermixture of tlie European popula- 
tions, produced by tbeir various and intimate mu- 
tual relations, it does not apply witli the same 
force to tliem as to others, and this I regard as the 
reason why the signification of the word has become 

If we will carefully examine the history of great 
empires, we shall be able, in almost every instance, 
to trace their beginning to the activity of what, in 
the strictest sense of the word, may be called a 
nation. Gradually, as the sphere of that nation 
expands, it incorporates, and in course of time 
amalgamates with foreign elements. 

Nimrod, we learn from sacred history, established 
the Assyrian empire. At first, this consisted of but 
little more than the city of Babylon, and must neces- 
sarily have contained a very homogeneous popula- 
tion, if from no other cause than its narrow geogra- 
phical limits. At the dawn of profane history, how- 
ever, we find this empire extending over boundless 
tracts, and uniting under one rule tribes and na- 
tions of the most dissimilar manners and tongues. 

The Assyrian empire fell, and that of the Medes 
rose on its ruins. The Median monarchy had an 
humble beginning. Dejoces, says tradition, united 
the independent tribes of the Medes. Later, we 


find tliem ruling nations wliose language tliey did 
not understand, whose manners they despised. 

The Persian empire exceeded in grandeur its 
mighty predecessors. Originating in a rebellion of 
a few liberty-loving tribes, concerted and success- 
fully executed by a popular leader (Cyrus), two 
generations of rulers extended its boundaries to the 
banks of the Nile. In Alexander's time, it was a 
conglomeration of a countless number of nations, 
many of whom remained under their hereditary 
rulers while rendering allegiance, and paying tri- 
bute to the great king. 

I pass over the Macedonian empire, as of too 
short a duration to be a fair illustration. The 
germ of the Eoman empire consisted of a coa- 
lescence of very closely allied tribes : Eomulus's 
band of adventurers (who must have come from 
neighboring communities), the Sabines, Albans, and 
Latins. At the period of its downfall, it ruled, at 
least nominally, over every then known race. 

In all these instances, the number of which 
might be further increased, we find homogeneous- 
ness of population at first, ethnical mixture and 
confusion at the end. "But what does this prove? 
will be asked. That too great an extension of ter- 
ritory is the cause of weakness ? The idea is old, 
and out of date in our times, when steam and elec- 


tricity bring tlie outskirts of the largest empire 
in closer proximity tlian formerly were tlie fron- 
tiers of the humblest sovereignty." Extension of 
territory does not itself prove a cause of weakness 
and ruin. The largest empire in the world is that 
of China, and, without steam or electricity, it has 
maintained itself for 4,000 years, and bids fair, spite 
of the present revolution, to last a good long while 
yet. But, when extension of territory is attended 
with the incorporation of heterogeneous masses, 
having difi'erent interests, different instincts, from 
the conqueror, then indeed the extension must be 
an element of weakness, and not of strength. 

The armies which Xerxes led into Greece were 
not Persians; but a small fragment of that motley 
congregation, the elite^ the leaven, of the whole 
mass, was composed of the king's countrymen. 
Upon this small body he placed his principal reli- 
ance, and when, at the fatal battle of Salamis, he 
beheld the slaughter of that valiant and noble 
band, though he had hundreds of thousands yet at 
his command, he rent his garments and fled a 
country which he had well-nigh conquered. Here 
is the difference between the armies of Cyrus and 
those of Xerxes and Darius. The rabbles which 
obeyed the latter, perhaps contained as much valor 
as the ranks of the enthusiastic followers of the 


first, though the fact of their fighting under Per- 
sian standards might be considered as a proof of 
their inferiority. But what interest had they in the 
success of the great king ? To forge still firmer 
their own fetters ? Could the name of Cyrus, the 
remembrance of the storming of Sardis, the siege 
of Babylon, the conquest of Egypt, fire them with 
enthusiasm ? Perhaps, in some of those glorious 
events, their forefathers became slaves to the tyrants 
they now serve, tyrants whose very language they 
do not understand. 

The last armies of tottering Rome were drafted 
from every part of her boundless dominions, and 
of the men who were sent to oppose the threat- 
ening barbarians of the north, some, it might 
be, felt the blood of humbled Greece in their 
veins ; some had been torn from a distant home 
in Egypt, or Libya; others, perhaps, remembered 
with pride how their ancestors had fought the 
Romans in the times of Juba, or Mithridates ; 
others, again, boiled with indignation at the oppres- 
sion of their Gallic brethren ; — could those men re- 
spect the glorious traditions of Rome, could they 
be supposed to emulate the former legions of the 
proud city ? 

It is not, then, an extensive territory that ruins 
nations; it is a diversity of instincts, a clashing 


of interests among tlie various parts of tlie popu- 
lation. Wlien each province is isolated in feel- 
ings and interests from every other, no external 
foe is wanted to complete the ruin. Ambitious 
and adroit men will soon arise who know how to 
play upon these interests, and employ them for the 
promotion of their own schemes. 

Nations, in the various stages of their career, 
have often been compared to individuals. They 
have, it is said, their period of infancy, of youth, 
of manhood, of old age. But the similitude, how- 
ever striking, is not extended further, and, while 
individuals die a natural death, nations are sup- 
posed always to come to a violent end. Probably, 
we do not like to concede that all nations, like 
all individuals, must ultimately die a natural 
death, even though no disease anticipates it; 
because we dislike to recognize a rule which 
must apply to us as well. Each nation fancies 
its own vitality imperishable. When we are 
young, we seldom seriously think of death ; in the 
same manner, societies in the period of their youth- 
ful vigor and energy, cannot conceive the possi- 
bility of their dissolution. In old age and decre- 
pitude, they are like the consumptive patient, 
Avho, while fell disease is severing the last thread 
that binds him to the earth, is still forming plans 


for years to come.' Falling Eome dreamed herself 
eternal. Yet, tlie mortality of nations admits of 
precisely the same proof as that of individuals — ■ 
universal experience. The great empires that 
overshadowed the world, where are they? The 
memory of some is perpetuated in the hearts of 
mankind by imperishable monuments ; of others, 
the slightest trace is obliterated, the vaguest re- 
membrance vanished. As the great individual 
intelligences, whose appearance marks an era in 
the history of human thought, live in the minds 
of posterity, even though no gorgeous tombstone 
points out the resting-place of their hull of clay ; 
while the mausoleum of him whose grandeur was 
but temporary, whose influence transient only, 
carries no meaning on its sculptured surface to 
after asces ; even so the ancient civilizations which 
adorned the globe, if their monuments be not in 
the domain of thought, their gigantic vestiges 
serve but to excite the wonder of the traveller 
and antiquary, and perplex the historian. Their 
sepulchres, however grand, are mute.^ 

' Even the historians of ancient Greece wondered at those 
gigantic ruins, of which many are still extant. Of these Cyclo- 
pean remains, as they were often called, no one knew the build- 
ers or the history, and they were considered as the labors of the 
fabulous heroes of a traditional epoch. For an account of these 



Many have been tlie attempts to detect the causes 
why nations die, in order to prevent that catastro- 
p)he ; as the physicians of the Middle Ages, who 
thought death was always the consequence of dis- 
ease, sought for the panacea that was to cure all ills 
and thus prolong life forever. But nations, like in- 
dividuals, often survive the severest attacks of the 
most formidable disease, and die without sickness. 
In ancient times, those great catastrophes which 
annihilated the political existence of millions, were 
regarded as direct interpositions of Providence, 
visiting in its wrath the sins of a nation, and 
erecting a warning example for others ; just as the 
remarkable destruction of a noted individual, or 
the occurrence of an unusual phenomenon was, and 
by many is even now, ascribed to the same imme- 
diate agency. But when philosophy discovered 
that the universe is governed by pre-established, 
immutable laws, and refused to credit miracles not 
sanctioned by religion; then the dogma gained 
ground that punishment follows the commission of 
sin, as effect does the cause; and national calami- 
ties had to be explained by other reasons. It was 

memorials of an ante-hellenic civilization in Greece, of ivhich we have 
no record, particularly the ruins of Orcliomonos, Tirgus, Mycene, 
and the tvmnels of Lake Copais, see Niebuhr's Ancient History, 
vol. i. p. 241, et passim. 


then said, nations die of luxury, immorality, bad 
government, irreligion, etc. In other words, suc- 
cess was made the test of excellency and failure of 
crime. If, in individual life, we were to lay it 
down as an infallible rule, that he who commits 
no excesses lives forever, or at least very long ; 
and he who does, will immediately die ; that he 
who is honest in his dealings, will always prosper 
more than he who is not ; we should have a very 
fluctuating standard of morality, since it has pleased 
God to sometimes try the good by severe afflictions, 
and let the wicked prosper. We should therefore 
be often called upon to admire what is deserving 
of contempt or punishment, and to seek for guilt 
in the innocent. This is what we do in nations. 
Wicked institutions have been called good, because 
they were attended with success ; good ones have 
been pronounced bad, because they failed, 

A more critical study of history has demon- 
strated the fallibility of this theory, which is 
now in a great measure discarded, and another 
adopted in its stead. It is argued that, at a cer- 
tain period in its existence, a nation infallibly 
becomes degenerated, and thus falls. But, asks 
Mr. Gobineau, what is degeneracy ? A nation 
is said to be degenerated when the virtues of its 
ancestry are lost. But why are they lost? Be- 


cause tlie nation is degenerated. Is not this like 
tlie reasoning in the child's story-book : Why is 
Jack a bad boy ? Because he disobeys his pa- 
rents. Why does he disobey his parents ? Be- 
cause he is a bad boy. 

It is necessary, then, to show what degeneracy 
is. This step in advance, Mr. Gobineau attempts 
to make. He shows that each race is distinguished 
by certain capabilities, which, if its civilizing genius 
is sufficiently strong to enable it to assume a rank 
among the nations of the world, determine the 
character of its social and political development. 
Like the Phenicians, it may become the merchant 
and barterer of the world ; or, like the Greeks, the 
teacher of future generations ; or, like the Eomans, 
the model-giver of laws and forms. Its part in the 
drama of history may be an humble one or a 
proud, but it is always proportionate to its powers. 
These powers, and the instincts or aspirations 
which spring from them, never change as long 
as the race remains pure. They progress and 
develop themselves, but never alter their nature. 
The purposes of the race are always the same. 
It may arrive at great perfection in the useful 
arts, but, without infiltration of a different ele- 
ment, will never be distinguished for poetry, paint- 
ing, sculpture, etc, ; and vice versa. Its nature 


may be belligerent, aud it will always find causes 
for quarrel ; or it may be pacific, and then it will 
manage to live at peace, or fall a prey to a neighbor. 
In the same manner, the government of a race 
will be in accordance with its instincts, and here 
I have the weighty authority of the author of 
Democracy in America^ in my favor, and the au- 
thor's whom I am illustrating. "A government," 
says De Tocqueville,' "retains its sway over a great 
number of citizens, far less by the voluntary and 
rational consent of the multitude, than by that in- 
stinctive^ and, to a certain extent, involuntary agree- 
ment, which results from similarity of feelings, and 
resemblances of opinions, I will never admit that 
men constitute a social body, simply because they 
obey the same head and the same laws. A society 
can exist only when a great number of men con- 
sider a great number of things in the same point 
of view ; when they hold the same opinions upon 
many subjects, and when the same occurrences 
suggest the same thoughts and impressions to their 
minds." The laws and government of a nation are 
alv/ays an accurate reflex of its manners and modes 
of thinking. "If, at first, it would appear," says 
Mr. Gobineau, " as if, in some cases, they were the 

' Democracy in America, vol. ii. cb. xviii. p. 424. 



pTocluction of some superior individual intellect, 
like tlie great law-givers of antiquity; let the facts 
be more carefully examined, and it will be found 
that the law-giver — if wise and judicious — has con- 
tented himself with consulting the genius of his 
nation, and giving a voice to the common senti- 
ment. If, on the contrary, he be a theorist like 
Draco, his system remains a dead letter, soon to be 
superseded by the more judicious institutions of a 
Solon who aims to give to his countrymen, not the 
best laws possible, but the best he thinks them 
.capable of receiving." It is a great and a very 
general error to suppose that the sense of a nation 
will always decide in favor of what we term " popu- 
lar" institutions, that is to say, such in which each 
individual shares more or less immediately in the 
government. Its genius may tend to the establish- 
ment of absolute authority, and in that case the 
autocrat is but an impersonation of the vox populi^ 
by which he must be guided in his policy. If he 
be too deaf or rash to listen to it, his own ruin 
will be the inevitable consequence, but the nation 
persists in the same career. 

The meaning of the word degeneracy is now 
obvious. This inevitable evil is concealed in the 
very successes to which a nation owes its splendor. 
Whether, like the Persians, Romans, &c., it is 


swallowed up and absorbed by the multitudes its 
arms liave subjected, or wbetber tbe etlmical mix- 
ture proceeds in a peaceful manner, the result is 
the same. Even where no foreign conquests add 
suddenly hundreds of thousands of a foreign popu- 
lation to the original mass, the fertility of uncul- 
tivated fields, the opulence of great commercial 
cities, and all the advantages to be found in the 
bosom of a rising nation, accomplish it, if in a 
less perceptible, in a no less certain manner. The 
two young nations of the world are now the United 
States and Eussia. See the crowds which are 
thronging over the frontiers of both. Both already 
count their foreign population by millions. As 
the original population — the initiatory element of 
the whole mass — has no additions to its numbers 
but its natural increase, it follows that the influ- 
ent elements must, in course of time, be of equal 
strength, and the influx still continuing, finally 
absorb it altogether. Sometimes a nation esta- 
blishes itself upon the basis of a much more nu- 
merous conquered population, as in the case of 
the Frankish conquerors of Gaul ; then the amal- 
gamation of ranks and classes produces the same 
results as foreign immigration. It is clear that 
each new ethnical element brings with it its own 
characteristics or instincts, and according to the 


relative strengtli of these will be tlie modifications 
in government, social relations, and tlie whole 
tendencies of the race. The modifications may be 
for the better, they may be for the worse; they 
may be very gradual, or very sudden, according 
to the merit and power of the foreign influence ; 
but in course of time they will amount to radical, 
positive changes, and then the original nation has 
ceased to exist. 

This is the natural death of human societies. 
Sometimes they expire gently and almost im- 
perceptibly; oftener with a convulsion and a 
crash. I shall attempt to explain my mean- 
ing by a familiar simile. A mansion is built 
which in all respects suits the taste and wants of 
the owner. Succeeding generations find it too 
small, too dark, or otherwise ill adapted to their 
purposes. Eespect for their progenitor, and 
family association, prevent, at first, very extensive 
changes, still each one makes some ; and as these 
associations grow fainter, the changes become 
more radical, until at last nothing of the old house 
remains. But if it had previously passed into the 
hands of a stranger, who had none of these asso- 
ciations to venerate and respect, he would proba- 
bly have pulled it down at once and built another. 

An empire, then, falls, when the vitalizing prin- 


ciplo whicli gave it birth is exhausted ; when its 
parts are connected by none but artificial ties, and 
artificial ties are all those which unite races pos- 
sessed of different instincts. This idea is expressed 
in the beautiful image of the inspired prophet, 
when he tells the mighty king that great truth, 
which so many refuse to believe, that all earthly 
kingdoms must perish until " the God of Heaven 
set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed."^ 
" Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. 
This great image, whose brightness was excellent, 
stood before thee, and the form thereof was terrible. 
This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and 
his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of 
brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and 
part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was 
cut without hands, which smote the image upon 
his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake 
them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the 
brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces 
together, and became like the chaff of the summer 
threshing-floors ; and the wind carried them away, 
that no place was found for them."^ 

I have now illustrated, to the best of my abili- 
ties, several of the most important propositions of 

' Daniel ii. 44. 

2 Daniel ii. 31 to 35. 


Mr. Gobineau, and attempted to sustain tliem bj 
arguments and examples different from those used 
by the author. For a more perfect exposition 1 
must refer the reader to the body of the work. 
My purpose was humbly to clear away such ob- 
stacles as the author has left in the path, and re- 
move difficulties that escaped his notice. The task 
which I have set myself, would, however, be far 
from accomplished, were I to pass over what I 
consider a serious error on his part, in silence and 
without an effort at emendation. 

Civilization, says Mr. Gobineau, arises from the 
combined action and mutual reaction of man's 
moral aspirations, and the pressure of his material 
wants. This, in a general sense, is obviously true. 
But let us see the practical application. I shall 
endeavor to give a concise abstract of his views, 
and then to point out where and why he errs. 

In some races, says he, the spiritual aspira- 
tions predominate over their physical desires, 
in others it is the reverse. In none are either 
entirely wanting. According to the relative pro- 
portion and intensity of either of these in- 
fluences, which counteract and yet assist each 
other, the tendency of the civilization varies. If 
either is possessed in but a feeble degree, or if 
one of them so greatly outweighs the other as to 


completely neutralize its effects, tliere is no civil- 
ization, and never can be one nntil the race is 
modified by intermixture with one of higher en- 
dowments. But if both prevail to a sufficient ex- 
tent, the preponderance of either one determines 
the character of the civilization. In the Chinese, 
it is the material tendency that prevails, in the 
Hindoo the other. Consequent!}^ we find that in 
China, civilization is principally directed towards 
the gratification of physical wants, the perfection 
of material well-being. In other words, it is of an 
eminently utilitarian character, which discourages 
all speculation not susceptible of immediate prac- 
tical application. 

This well describes the Chinese, and is pre- 
cisely the picture which M. Hue, who has lived 
among them for many years, and has enjoyed 
better opportunities for studying their genius 
than any other writer, gives of them in his late 

' Among many passages illustrative of the ultra utilitarian- 
ism of the Chinese, I can find space but for one, and that 
selected almost at random. After speaking of the exemplary 
diffusion of primary instruction among the masses, he says 
that, though they all read, and frequently, yet even their read- 
ing is of a strictly utilitarian character, and never answers any 
but practical purposes or temporary amusement. The name 


Hindoo culture, on tlie contrary, displays a 
very opposite tendency. Among that nation, 
everything is speculative, nothing practical. The 
toils of human intellect are in the regions of 
the abstract where the mind often loses itself 

of the author is seldom known, and never inquired after. 
"That class are, in their eyes, only idle persons, who pass 
their time in making prose or verse. They have no objection 
to such a pursuit. A man may, they say, ' amuse himself with 
his pen as with his kite, if he likes it as well — it is all a matter 
of taste.' The inhabitants of the celestial empire would never 
recover from their astonishment if they knew to what extent 
intellectual labor may be in Europe a source of honor and often 
wealth. If they were told that a person among us may obtain 
great glory by composing a drama or a novel, they would either 
not believe it, or set it down as an additional proof of our well- 
known want of common sense. How would it be if they should 
be told of the renown of a dancer or a violin player, and that 
one cannot make a bound, nor the other draw a bow anywhere 
without thousands of newspapers hastening to spread the im- 
portant news over all the kingdoms of Europe ! 

" The Chinese are too decided utilitarians to enter into our 
views of the arts. In their opinion, a man is only worthy of the 
admiration of his fellow-creatures when he has well fulfilled 
the social duties, and especially if he; knows better than any 
one else how to get out of a scrape. You are regarded as a 
man of genius if you know how to regulate your family, make 
your lands fruitful, traffic with ability, and realize great profits. 
This, at least, is the only kind of genius that is of any value 
in the eyes of these eminently practical men." — Voyages en 
Chine, par M. Hue, Amer. trans., vol. i. pp. 316 and 317. 


in deptlis beyond its sounding. The material wants 
are few and easily supplied. If great works are 
undertaken, it is in honor of the gods, so that 
even their jDhysical labor bears homage to the in- 
visible rather than the visible world. This also 
is a tolerably correct picture. 

He therefore divides uU races into these two 
categories, taking the Chinese as the type of the 
one and the Hindoos as that of the other. Accord- 
ing to him, the yellow races belong pre-eminently 
to the former, the black to the latter, while the 
white are distinguished by a greater intensity and 
better proportion of the qualities of both. But this 
division, and no other is consistent with the au- 
thor's proposition, by assuming that in the black 
races the moral preponderates over the physical 
tendency, comes in direct conflict not only with the 
plain teachings of anatomy, but with all we know 
of the history of those races. I shall attempt to 
show wherein Mr. Gobineau's error lies, an error 
from the consequences of which I see no possibility 
for him to escape, and suggest an emendation which, 
so far from invalidating his general position, tends 
rather to confirm and strengthen it. In doing so, 
I am actuated by the belief that even if I err, I 
may be useful by inviting others more capable to 
the task of investigation. Suggestions on important 


subjects, if they serve no other purpose than to pro- 
voke inquiry, are never useless. The alchemists 
of the Middle Ages, in their frivolous pursuit of 
impossibilities, discovered many invaluable secrets 
of nature and laid the foundation of that science 
which, by explaining the intimate mutual action 
of all natural bodies, has become the indispensable 
handmaiden of almost every other. 

The error, it seems to me, lies in the same con- 
fusion of distinct ideas, to which I had already 
occasion to advert. In ordinary language, we 
speak of the physical and moral nature of man, 
terming physical whatever relates to his material, 
and moral what relates to his immaterial being. 
Again, we speak of mind^ and though in theory we 
consider it as a synonyme of soul, in practical ap- 
plication it has a very different signification. A 
person may cultivate his mind without benefiting 
his soul, and the term a superior mind, does not 
necessarily imply moral excellency. That mental 
qualifications or acquisitions are in no way con- 
nected with sound morality or true piety, I have 
pointed out before. Should any further illustra- 
tions be necessary, I might remark that the great- 
est monsters that blot the page of history, have 
been, for the most part, men of what are called 
superior minds, of great intellectual attainments. 


Indeed, wickedness is seldom very dangerous, un- 
less joined to intellect, as tlie common sense of 
mankind has expressed in the adage that a fool is 
seldom a knave. We daily see men perverting 
the highest mental gifts to the basest purposes, a 
fact which ought to be carefully weighed by those 
who believe that education consists in the cultiva- 
tion of the intellect only. I therefore consider the 
moral endowments of man as practically different 
from the mental or intellectual, at least in their 
manifestations, if not in their essence. To define 
my. idea more clearly, let me attempt to explain 
the difference between what I term the moral and 
the intellectual nature of man. I am aware of the 
dangerous nature of the ground I am treading, but 
shall nevertheless make the attempt to show that 
it is in accordance with the spirit of religion to 
consider what in common parlance is called the 
moral attributes of man, and which would be 
better expressed by the word 'psychical^ as divisible 
into two, the strictly moral, and the intellectual. 

The former is what leads man to look beyond his 
earthly existence, and gives even the most brutish 
savage some vague idea of a Deity. I am making 
no rash or unfounded assertion when I declare, 
Mr. Locke's weighty opinion to the contrary not- 
withstanding, that no tribe has ever been disco • 


vered in wHch some notion of this kind, however 
rude, was wanting, and I consider it innate — a 
yearning, as it were, of the soul towards the regions 
to which it belongs. The feeling of religion is- 
implanted in our breast ; it is not a production of 
the intellect, and this the Christian church confirms 
when it declares that faith we owe to the grace of 

Intellect is that faculty of soul by which it 
takes cognizance of, classes and compares the facts 
of the material world. As all perceptions are de- 
rived through the senses, it follows that upon the 
nicety of these its powers must in a great measure 
depend. The vigor and delicacy of the nerves, and 
the size and texture of the brain in which they all 
centre, form what we call native intellectual gifts. 
Hence, when the body is impaired, the mind suffers ; 
"mens sana in corpore sano ;" hence, a fever pros- 
trates, and may forever destroy, the most powerful 
intellect ; a glass of wine may dim and distort it. 
Here, then, is the grand distinction between soul 
and mind. The latter, human wickedness may 
annihilate ; the former, man killeth not. I should 
wish to enter more fully upon this investigation, not 
new, indeed, in speculative science, yet new in the 
application I purpose to make of it, were it not for 
fear of wearying my reader, to whom my only 


apology can be, that the discussion is indispensable 
to the proper investigation of the moral and intel- 
lectual diversities of races. When I say moral 
diversities, I do not mean that man's moral endow- 
ments, strictly speaking, are unequal. This asser- 
tion T am not prepared to make, because — as reli- 
gion is accessible and comprehensible to them all 
— it may be supposed that these are in all cases 
equal. But I mean that the manifestation of these 
moral endowments varies, owing to causes which 
I am now about to consider. I have said that the 
moral nature of man leads him to look beyond the 
confines of the material world. This, when not 
assisted by revelation, he attempts to do by means 
of his intellect. The intellect is, as it were, the 
visual organ by which the soul scans the abyss 
between the present and the future existence. Ac- 
cording to the dimness or brightness of this men- 
tal eye, are his perceptions. If the intellectual 
capacity is weak, he is content with a grovelling 
conception of the Deity ; if powerful, he erects an 
elaborate fabric of philosophical speculations. But, 
as the Almighty has decreed that human intellect, 
even in its sublimest flight, cannot soar to His 
presence ; it follows that the most elaborate fabric 
of the philosopher is still a human fabric, that the 
most perfect human theology is still human, and 


hence — the necessity of revelation. This divine 
light, which His mercy has vouchsafed us, dispenses 
with, and eclipses, the feeble glimmerings of human 
intellect. It illumines as well the soul of the rude 
savage as of the learned theologian; of the illiterate 
as of the erudite. Nay, very often the former has 
the advantage, for the erudite philosopher is prone 
to think his own lamp all-sufiicient. If it be ob- 
jected that a highly cultivated mind, if directed to 
rightful purposes, will assist in gaining a nobler 
conception of the Deity, I shall not contradict, for 
in the study of His works, we learn still more to 
admire the Maker. But I insist that true piety 
can, and does exist without it, and let those who 
trust so much in their own powers beware lest 
they lean upon a broken staff. 

The strictly moral attributes of man, therefore, 
those attributes which enable him to communicate 
with his Maker, are common — probably in equal 
degree — to all men, and to all races of men. But 
his communications with the external world depend 
on his physical conformation. The body is the 
connecting link between the spirit and the mate- 
rial world, and, by its intimate relations to both, 
specially adapted to be the means of communica- 
tion between them. There seems to me nothing 
irrational or irreligious in the doctrine that, accord- 


ing to the perfectness of this means of communi- 
cation, must be the intercourse between the two. 
A person with dull auditory organs can never 
appreciate music, and whatever his talents other- 
wise may be, can never become a Meyerbeer or a 
Mozart. Upon quickness of perception, power of 
analysis and combination, perseverance and endur- 
ance, depend our intellectual facnlties, both in their 
degree and their kind ; and are not they blunted 
or otherwise modified in a morbid state of the body ? 
I consider it therefore established beyond dispute, 
that a certain general physical conformation is 
productive of corresponding mental characteristics. 
A human being, whom God has created with a 
negro's skull and general physiqiLe^ can never equal 
one with a Newton's or a Humboldt's cranial 
development, though the soul of both is equally 
precious in the eyes of the Lord, and should be in 
the eyes of all his followers. There is no tendency 
to materialism in this idea ; I have no sympathy 
with those who deny the existence of the soul, 
because they cannot find it under the scalpel, and 
I consider the body not the mental agent, but the 
servant, the tool. 

It is true that science has not discovered, and 
perhaps never will discover, what physical differ- 
ences correspond to the differences in individual 


minds. Phrenology, starting witli brilliant promises, 
and bringing to the task powers of no mean order, 
has failed. But there is avast difference between the 
characteristics by which we distinguish individuals 
of the same race, and those by which we distinguish 
races themselves. The former are not strictly — at 
least not immediately — hereditary, for the child 
most often differs from both parents in body and 
mind, because no two individuals, as no two leaves 
of one tree, are precisely alike. But, although every 
oak-leaf differs from its fellow, we know the leaf of 
the oak-tree from that of the beech, or every other ; 
and, in the same manner, races are distinguished by 
peculiarities which are hereditary and permanent. 
Thus, every negro differs from every other negro, 
else we could not tell them apart ; yet all, if pure 
blood, have the same characteristics in common 
that distinguish them from the white. I have 
been prolix, but intentionally so, in my discrimi- 
nation between individual distinction and those of 
race, because of the latter, comparative anatomy 
takes cognizance ; the former are left to phreno- 
logy, and I wished to remove any suspicion that 
in the investigation of moral and intellectual diver- 
sities of races, recourse must be had to the ill- 
authenticated speculations of a dubious science. 
But, from the data of comparative anatomy, at- 


tained by a slow and cautious progress, we deduce 
that races are distinguished by certain permanent 
physical characteristics; and, if these physical 
characteristics correspond to the mental, it follows 
as an obvious conclusion that the latter are perma- 
nent also. History ratifies the conclusion, and the 
common sense of mankind practically acquiesces 
in it. 

To return, then, to our author. I would add 
to his two elements of civilization a third — intel- 
lect per se ; or rather, to speak more correctly, I 
would subdivide one of his elements into two, of 
which one is probably dependent on physical con- 
formation. The combinations will then be more 
complex, but will remove every difficulty. 

I remarked that although we may consider all 
races as possessed of equal moral endowments, we 
yet may speak of moral diversities ; because, with- 
out the light of revelation, man has nothing but 
his intellect whereby to compass the immaterial 
world, and the manifestation of his moral facul- 
ties must therefore be in proportion to the clear- 
ness of his intellectual, and their preponderance 
over the animal tendencies. The three I consider 
as existing about in the following relative propor- 
tions in the three great groups under which Mr. 


Gobinean and Mr, Latham^ have arranged the 
various races — a classification, however, which, as 
I already observed, I cannot entirely approve. 

Animal PrO' 
Moral Mani- 


ANI- 1 
NS. J 













Very strong 





Highly culti- 




But the races comprised in each group vary 
among themselves, if not with regard to the rela- 
tive proportion in which they possess the ele- 
ments of civilization, at least in their intensity. 
The following formulas will, I think, apply to the 
majority of cases, and, at the same time, bring out 
my idea in a clearer light : — 

If the animal propensities are strongly de- 
veloped, and not tempered by the intellectual 
faculties, the moral conceptions must be exceed- 
ingly low, because they necessarily depend on 
the clearness, refinement, and comprehensiveness 
of the ideas derived from the material world 
through the senses. The religious cravings will, 
therefore, be contented with a gross worship of 

' Nat. Hist, of the Varieties of Man. London. 
2 According to Latham's classification, op. cit. 


material objects, and the moral sense degenerate 
into a grovelling superstition. The utmost eleva- 
tion which a population, so constituted, can reach, 
will be an unconscious impersonation of the good 
aspirations and the evil tendencies of their nature 
under the form of a good and an evil spirit, to 
the latter of which absurd and often bloody 
homage is paid. Grovernment there can be no 
other than the right which force gives to the 
strong, and its forms will be- slavery among them- 
selves, and submissiveness of all to a tyrannical 

When the same animal propensities are com- 
bined with intellect of a higher order, the moral 
faculties have more room for action. The pene- 
tration of intellect will not be long in discovering 
that the gratification of physical desires is easiest 
and safest in a state of order and stability. Hence 
a more complex system of legislation both social 
and political. The conceptions of the Deity will 
be more elevated and refined, though the idea of 
a future state will probably be connected with 
visions of material enjoyment, as in the paradise 
of the Mohammedans. 

Where the animal propensities are weak and 
the intellect feeble, a vegetating national life re- 
sults. No political organization, or of the very 


simplest kind.. Few laws, for wliat need of restrain- 
ing passions wHcli do not exist. The moral sense 
content witli the vague recognition of a superior 
being, to whom few or no rites are rendered. 

But when the animal propensities are so moder- 
ate as to be subordinate to an intellect more or less 
vigorous, the moral aspirations will yearn towards 
the regions of the abstract. Eeligion becomes a 
system of metaphysics, and often loses itself in the 
mazes of its own subtlety. The political organi- 
zation and civil legislation will be simple, for 
there are few passions to restrain ; but the laws 
which regulate social intercourse will be many 
and various, and supposed to emanate directly 
from the Deity. 

Strong animal passions, joined to an intellect 
equally strong, allow the greatest expanse for the 
moral sense. Political organizations the most 
complex and varied, social and civil laws the most 
studied, will be the outward character of a society 
composed of such elements. Internally we shall 
perceive the greatest contrasts of individual good- 
ness and wickedness. Eeligion will be a symbol- 
ism of human passions and the natural elements 
for the many, an ingenious fabric of moral specu- 
lations for the few. 

I have here rapidly sketched a series of pictures 


from nature, wliicli the historian and ethnographer 
will not fail to recognize. Whether the features 
thus cursorily delineated are owing to the causes 
to which I ascribe them, I must leave for the 
reader to decide. My space is too limited to 
allow of my entering into an elaborate argumenta- 
tion. But I would observe that, by taking this 
view of the subject, we can understand why all 
human — and therefore false — religions are so inti- 
mately connected with the social and political 
organization of the peoples which profess them, 
and why they are so plainly mapped out on the 
globe as belonging to certain races, to whom alone 
they are applicable, and beyond whose area they 
cannot extend : while Christianity knows no po- 
litical or social forms, no geographical or ethno- 
logical limits. The former, being the productions 
of human intellect, must vary with its variation, 
and perish in its decay, while revelation is univer- 
sal and immutable, like the Intelligence of which it 
is the emanation. 

It is time now to conclude the task, the accom- 
plishment of which has carried me far beyond the 
limits I had at first proposed to myself. If I have 
so long detained the reader on the threshold of the 
edifice, it was to facilitate his after progress, and to 
give him a chart, that he may not lose himself in 


tlie vast field it covers. Tliere lie may often meet 
me again, and if I be sometimes deemed officious 
with, my proffered explanations, lie will at least 
give me credit for good intentions, and lie may, if 
lie chooses, pass me without recognition. Both 
this introduction and notes in the body of the 
work were thought necessary for several reasons. 
First, the subject is in some measure a new one, 
and it was important to guard against misconcep- 
tion, and show, right at the beginning, what was 
attempted to be proved, and in what manner. Se- 
condly, the author wrote for a European public, 
and many allusions are made, or positions taken, 
upon an assumed knowledge of facts, of which the 
general reader on this side of the ocean can be 
supposed to have but a slight and vague appre- 
hension. Thirdly, the author has, in many cases, 
contented himself with abstract reasoning, and 
therefore is sometimes chargeable with obscure- 
ness, on which account familiar illustrations have 
been supplied. Fourthly, the volume now pre- 
sented to the reader is one of a series of four, the 
remainder of which, if this meets the public ap- 
probation, may in time appear in an English garb. 
But it was important to make this, as much as 
possible, independent of the others and complete 
in itself. The discussion of the moral and Intel- 


lectual diversities of the various groups of the 
human family, is, as I have before shown, totally 
independent of the question of unity or diversity 
of species ; yet, as it increases the interest attached 
to the solution of that question, which has been 
but imperfectly discussed by the author, my es- 
teemed friend. Dr. J. C. Nott, who has so often and 
so ably treated the subject, has promised to furnish, 
in notes and an appendix, such additional facts 
pertaining to his province as a naturalist, as may 
assist the reader in arriving at a correct opinion. 

With regard to the translation, it must be ob- 
served that it is not a literal rendering of the ori- 
ginal. The translator has aimed rather at giving 
the meaning, than the exact words or phraseology 
of the author, at no time, however, departing from 
the former. He has, in some instances, condensed 
or omitted what seemed irrelevant, or useless to 
the discussion of the question in this country, and 
in a few cases, he has transposed a sentence to a 
different part of the paragraph, where it seemed 
more in its place, and more effective. To explain 
and justify these alterations, we must remind our 
readers that the author wrote for a public essen- 
tially different from that of the translator; that 
continental writers on grave subjects are in gene- 
ral more intent upon vindicating their opinions 


than the form in which they express them, and 
seldom devote that attention to style which English 
or American readers expect ; to which may be added 
that Count Gobineau wrote in the midst of a mul- 
tiplicity of diplomatic affairs, and had no time, 
even if he had thought it worth his while, to give 
his work that literary finish which would satisfy 
the fastidious. Had circumstances permitted, this 
translation would have been submitted to his ap- 
probation, but at the time of its going to press he 
is engaged in the service of his country at the 
court of Persia. 

For obtruding the present work on the notice 
of the American public, no apology will be re- 
quired. The subject is one of immense import- 
ance, and especially in this country, where it can 
seldom be discussed without adventitious circum- 
stances biassing the inquirers. To the philanthro- 
pist, the leading idea of the book, " that different 
races, like different individuals, are specially fitted 
for special purposes, for the fulfilment of which 
they are accountable in the measure laid down in 
Holy "Writ : ' To whom much is given, from him 
much will be asked,' and that they are equal only 
when they truly and faithfully perform the duties of 


their station" — to tlie philanthropist, this idea must 
be fraught with many valuable suggestions. So 
far from loosening the ties of brotherhood, it binds 
them closer, because it teaches us not to despise 
those who are endowed differently from us ; and 
shows us that they, too, may have excellencies 
which we have not. 

To the statesman, the student of history, and 
the general reader, it is hoped that this volume 
will not be altogether useless, and may assist to a 
better understanding of many of the problems that 
have so long puzzled the philosopher. The great- 
est revolutions in national relations have been ac- 
complished by the migrations of races, the most 
calamitous wars that have desolated the globe have 
been the result of the hostility of races. Even 
now, a cloud is lowering in the horizon. The 
friend of peace and order watches it with silent 
anxiety, lest he hasten its coming. The spirit of 
mischief exults in its approach, but fears to betray 
his plans. Thus, western and central Europe now 
present the spectacle of a lull before the storm. 
Monarchs sit trembling; on their thrones, while 
nations mutter curses. Nor have premonitory 
symptoms been wanting. Three times, within 
little more than half a centary, have the eruptions 
of that ever-burning political volcano — France — 


shaken the social and political system of the civil- 
ized world, and shown the amount of combustible 
materials, which all the efforts of a ruling class 
cannot always protect from ignition. The grand 
catastrophe may come within our times. And, is 
it the result of any particular social condition, the 
action of any particular class in the social scale, 
the diffusion of any particular political principles ? 
No, because the revolutionary tendencies are vari- 
ous, and even opposite ; if republican in one place, 
monarchical in another; if democratic in France, 
aristocratic in Poland. Nor is it a particular social 
class wherein the revolutionary principle flourishes, 
for the classes which, in one country, wish subver- 
sion, in another, are firmly attached to the estab- 
lished order of things. The poor in Germany are 
proletarians and revolutionists; in Spain, Portugal, 
and Italy, the enthusiastic lovers of their king. 
The better classes in the former country are 
mostly conservative; in the latter, they are the 
makers, or rather attempters, of revolutions. Nor 
is it any particular social condition, for no class is 
so degraded as it has been ; never was poverty less, 
and prosperity greater in Europe than in the pre- 
sent century; and everywhere the political institu- 
tions are more liberal than ever before. Whence, 
then, this gathering storm? Does it exist only in 


the minds of the visionary, or is it a mere bugbear 
of the timorous ? Ask the prudent statesman, the 
traveller who pierces the different strata of the 
population ; look behind the grates of the State- 
prisons; count — if this be possible — the number 
of victims of military executions in Germany and 
Austria, in 1848 and 1849 ; read the fearful ac- 
counts of the taking of Vienna, of Eome, of Anco- 
na, of Yenice, during the same short space of time. 
Everywhere the same cry : Nationality. It is not 
the temporary ravings of a mob rendered frantic 
by hunger and misery. It is a question of nation- 
ality, a war of races. Happy we who are removed 
from the immediate scene of the struggle, and can 
be but remotely affected by it. Yet, while I write, 
it seems as though the gales of the Atlantic had 
blown to our peaceful shores some taints of the 
epidemic that rages in the Old World. May it soon 
pass over, and a healthy atmosphere again prevail ! 

H. H. 

Mobile, Aug. 20, 1855. 




Perishable condition of all human societies — Ancient ideas con- 
cerning this phenomenon — Modern theories. 

The downfall of civilizations is the most striking, 
and, at tlie same time, the most obscure of all the 
phenomena of history. If the sublime grandeur 
of this spectacle impresses the mind with awe, the 
mystery in which it is wrapped presents a bound- 
less field for inquiry and meditation to a reflecting 
mind. The study of the birth and growth of na- 
tions is, indeed, fraught with many valuable ob- 
servations : the gradual development of human 
societies, their successes, conquests, and triumphs, 
strike the imagination in a lively manner, and 
excite an ever increasing interest. But these 
phenomena, however grand and interesting, seem 


susceptible of an easy explanation. We consider 
tliem as the necessary consequences of the intel- 
lectual and moral endowments of man. Once we 
admit the existence of these endowments, their 
results will no longer surprise us. 

But we perceive that, after a period of glory and 
strength, all societies formed by man begin to tot- 
ter and fall ; all, I said, because there is no excep- 
tion. Scattered over the surface of our globe, we 
see the vestiges of preceding civilizations, many 
of which are known to us only by name, or have 
not left behind them even that faint memorial, and 
are recorded only by the mute stones in the depths 
of primeval forests.^ If we glance at our modern 
States, we are forced to the conclusion that, though 
their date is but of yesterday, some of them already 
exhibit signs of old age. The awful truth of pro- 
phetic language about the instability of all things 
human, applies with equal force to political bodies 
and to individuals, to nations and their civiliza- 
tions. Every association of men for social and 
political purposes, though protected by the most 
ingenious social and political ties and contrivances, 
conceals among the very elements of its life, the 

' A. de Humboldt, Examen Critique de I'llistoire de la Gi^og- 
raphie du Nouveau Continent. Paris. 


germ of inevitable destruction, contracted the day 
it was formed. This terrible fact is proved by the 
history of all ages as well as of our own. It is 
owing to a natural law of death which seems to 
govern societies as well as individuals ; but, does 
this law operate alike in all cases ? is it uniform 
like the result it brings about, and do all civiliza- 
tions perish from the same pre-existing cause ? 

A superficial glance at the page of history would 
tempt us to answer in the negative, for the appa- 
rent causes of the downfall of the great empires of 
antiquity were very different in each case. Yet, 
if we pierce below the surface, we find in this very 
necessity of decay, which weighs so imperiously 
upon all societies without exception, the evidence 
of the existence of some general, though concealed, 
cause, producing a natural death, even where no 
external causes anticipate it by violent destruction. 
We also discover that all civilizations, after a short 
duration, exhibit, to the acute observer, certain 
intimate disturbances, difficult to define, but whose 
existence is undeniable ; and that these present in 
all cases an analogous character. Finally, if we 
distinguish the ruin of civilizations from that of 
States (for we sometimes see the same culture 
subsist in a country under foreign domination, and 
survive the destruction of the political body which 


gave it birth ; while, again, comparatively slight 
misfortunes cause it to be transformed, or to dis- 
appear altogether), we become more and more 
confirmed in the idea that this principle of death 
in all societies is not only a necessary condition of 
their life, independent, in a great measure, of ex- 
ternal causes, but is also uniform in all. To fix 
and determine this principle, and to trace its effects 
in the lives of those nations, of whom history has 
left us records, has been my object and endeavor 
in the studies, the results of which I now lay before 
the reader. 

The fact that every human agglomeration, and 
the peculiar culture resulting from it, is doomed 
to perish, was not known to the ancients. Even 
in the epochs immediately preceding ours, it was 
not believed. The religious spirit of Asiatic an- 
tiquity looked upon the great political catastrophes 
in the same light that they did upon the sudden de- 
struction of an individual : as a demonstration of 
Divine wrath, visiting a nation or an individual 
whose sins had marked them out for signal punish- 
ment, which would serve as an example to those cri- 
minals whom the rod had as yet spared. The Jews, 
misunderstanding the meaning of the promise, 
believed their empire imperishable. Rome, at the 
very moment when the threatening clouds lowered 


in the horizon of her grandeur, entertained no 
doubt as to the eternity of hers.'^ But our gene- 
ration has profited by experience ; and, as no one 
presumes to doubt that all men must die, because 
all who came before us have died ; so we are firmly 
convinced, that the days of nations, as of indivi- 
duals, however many they be, are numbered. The 
wisdom of the ancients, therefore, will afford us 
but little assistance in the unravelling of our sub- 
ject, if we except one fundamental maxim: that 
the finger of Divine Providence is always visible 
in the conduct of the affairs of this world. From 
this solid basis we shall not depart, acceptting it in 
the fall extent that it is recognized by the church. 
It cannot be contested that no civilization will 
perish without the will of God, and to apply to the 
mortal condition of all societies, the sacred axiom 
by which the ancients explained certain remark- 
able, and, in their opinion, isolated cases of de- 
struction, is but proclaiming a truth of the first 
order, of which we must never lose sight in our 
researches after truths of secondary importance. 
If it be further added that societies perish by their 
sins, I willingly accede to it ; it is but drawing a 

' Amad^e Thierry, La Oaule sous V Administration Romaine, 
voL i. p. 244. 



parallel between them and individuals "who also 
find their death, or accelerate it, by disobedience 
to the laws of the Creator. So far, there is nothing 
contradictory to reason, even when unassisted by 
Divine light ; but these two truths once admitted 
and duly weighed, the wisdom of the ancients, I 
repeat, affords no further assistance. They did 
iiot search into the ways by which the Divine will 
effected the ruin of nations ; on the contrary, they 
were rather inclined to consider these ways as 
essentially mysterious, and above comprehension. 
Seized with pious terror at the aspect of the wrecks, 
they e'Hsily imagined that Providence had spe- 
cially interfered thus to strike and completely 
destroy once powerful states. Where a miracle 
is recorded by the Sacred Scriptures, I willingly 
submit ; but where that high testimony is wanting, 
as it is in the great number of cases, we may justly 
consider the ancient theory as defective, and not 
sufficiently enlightened. "We may even conclude, 
that as Divine Justice watches over nations unre- 
mittingly, and its decrees were pronounced ere tke 
fi.rst human society was formed, they are also en- 
forced in a predeterminate manner, and according 
to the unalterable laws of the universe, which 
govern both animated nature and the inorganic 


If we have cause to reproach the philosophers of 
the earlier ages, for having contented themselves, 
in attempting to fathom the mystery, with the vin- 
dication of an incontestable theological truth, but 
v/hich itself is another mystery ; at least, they 
have not increased the difficulties of the question 
by making it a theme for a maze of errors. In 
this respect, they rank highly above the rationalist 
schools of various epochs. 

The thinkers of Athens and Eome established 
the doctrine, which has retained its ground to our 
days, that states, nations, civilizations, perished 
only through luxury, enervation, bad government, 
corruption of morals, fanaticism. All these causes, 
either singly or combined, were supposed to ac- 
count for the downfall of civilizations. It is a 
necessary consequence of this doctrine, that where 
neither of these causes are in operation, no destruc- 
tive agency is at work. Societies would therefore 
possess this advantage over individuals, that they 
could die no other but a violent death ; and, to 
establish a body politic as durable as the globe 
itself, nothing further would be necessary than to 
elude the dangers which I enumerated above. 

The inventors of this thesis did not perceive its 
bearing. They considered it as an excellent means 
for illustrating the doctrine of morality, which, as 


is well kno"WTi, was tlie sole aim of their Mstorical 
wf itings. In their narratives of events, they were so 
strongly preoccupied with showing the happy re- 
wards of virtue, and the disastrous results of crime 
and vice, that th&y cared little for what seemed to 
fuiciish no illustration. This erroneous and narrow- 
minded system often operated contrary to the inten- 
tion of the authors, for it applied, according to occa- 
sion, the name of virtue and vice in a very arbi- 
trary manner ; still, to a great extent, the severe 
and laudable sentiment upon which it was based, 
excuses it. If the genius of a Plutarch or a Tacitus 
could draw from history, studied in this manner, 
nothing but romances and satires, yet the ro- 
mances were sublime, and the satires generous. 

I wish I could be equally indulgent to the 
writers of the eighteenth century, who made their 
own application of the same theory ; but there is, 
between them and their teachers, too great a differ- 
ence. "While the ancients were attached to the 
established social system, even to a fault, our 
moderns were anxious for destruction, and greedy 
of untried novelties. The former exerted them- 
selves to deduce useful lessons from their theory ; 
the latter have perverted it into a fearful weapon 
against all rational principles of government, which 
they stigmatized by every term that mankind holds 


in horror. To save societies from ruin, the disci- 
ples of Voltaire would destroy religion, law, in- 
dustry, commerce; because, if we believe them, 
religion is fanaticism ; laws, despotism ; industry 
and commerce, luxury and corruption. 

I have not the slightest intention of entering 
the field of polemics ; I wished merely to direct 
attention to the widely diverging results of this 
principle, when applied by Thucydides, or the 
Abbd Eaynal. Conservative in the one, cynically 
aggressive in the other, it is erroneous in both. 

The causes to which the downfall of nations is 
generally ascribed are not the true ones, and 
whilst I admit that these evils may be rifest in 
the last stages of dissolution of a people, I deny 
that they possess in themselves sufficient strength, 
and so destructive an energy, as to produce the 
final, irremediable catastrophe. 





Fanaticism — Aztec Empire of Mexico. — Luxury — Modern Eu- 
ropean States as luxurious as the ancient. — Corruption of 
morals — The standard of morality fluctuates in the various 
periods of a nation's history : example, France — Is no higher 
in youthful communities than in old ones — Morality of Paris. 
— Iekeligion — Never spreads through all ranks of a nation — 
Greece and Rome — Tenacity of Paganism. 

Before entering upon my reasons for the opin- 
ion expressed at tlie end of the preceding chapter, 
it will be necessary to explain and define what I 
understand by the term society. I do not apply 
this term to the more or less extended circle be- 
longing to a distinct sovereignty. The republic 
of Athens is not, in my sense of the word, a so- 
ciety; neither is the kingdom of Magadha, the 
empire of Pontus, or the caliphat of Egypt in the 
time of the Fatimites. These are fragments of 
societies, which are transformed, united, or sub- 


divided, by the operation of those primordial laws 
into "which I am inquiring, but whose existence or 
annihilation does not constitute the existence or 
annihilation of a society. Their formation is, for 
the most part, a transient phenomenon, which exerts 
but a limited, or even indirect influence upon the 
civilization that gave it birth. By the term so- 
ciety, I understand an association of men, actuated 
by similar ideas, and possessed of the same gene- 
ral instincts. This association need by no means 
be perfect in a political sense, but must be com- 
plete from a social point of view. Thus, Egypt, 
Assyria, Greece, India, China, have been, or are 
still, the theatres upon which distinct societies 
have worked out their destinies, to which the per- 
turbations in their political relations were merely 
secondary. I shall, therefore, speak of the frac- 
tions of these societies only when my reasoning 
applies equally to the whole. I am now prepared 
to proceed to the examination of the question be- 
fore us, and I hope to prove that fanaticism, luxury, 
corruption of morals, and irreligion, do not neces- 
sarily occasion the ruin of nations. 

All these maladies, either singly or combined, 
have attacked, and sometimes with great virulence, 
nations which nevertheless recovered from them, 
and were, perhaps, all the more vigorous afterward. 


The Aztec empire, in Mexico, seemed to flourish 
for the especial glory and exaltation of fanaticism. 
What can there be more fanatical than a social 
and political system, based on a religion which 
requires the incessant and profuse shedding of the 
blood of fellow-beings?^ Our remote ancestors, 
the barbarous nations of Northern Europe, did 
indeed practise this unholy rite, but they never 
chose for their sacrifices innocent victims,^ or, at 
least, such as they considered so : the shipwrecked 
and prisoners of war, were not considered innocent. 
But, for the Mexicans, all victims were alike ; with 
that ferocity, which a modern physiologist^ recog- 
nizes as a characteristic of the races of the New 
World,- they butchered their own fellow-citizens 
indiscriminately, and without remorse or pity. And 
yet, this did not prevent them from being a power- 

' See Prescott's History of the Conquest of Mexico. 

2 C. F. Weber, 31. A. Lucani Pharsalia. Leipzig, 1828, vol. i. 
pp. 122-123, note. 

" Prichard, Natural History of Man. — Dr. Martius is still more 
explicit. (See Martius and Spix, Reise in Brasilien. Munich, vol. 
i. pp. 379-380.) 

Mr. Gobineau quotes from M. Roulin's French translation of 
Prichard's great work, and as I could not always find the corre- 
sponding pages in the original, I have sometimes been obliged 
to omit the citation of the page, that in the French translation 
being useless to English readers. — Transl. 


ful, industrious, and wealtliy nation, who might 
long have continued to blaspheme the Deity by 
their dark creed, but for Cortez's genius and 
the bravery of his companions. In this instance, 
then, fanaticism was not the cause of the downfall.^ 

• I greatly doubt wliether the fanaticism of even the ancient 
Mexicans could exceed that displayed by some of our not very 
remote ancestors. Who, that reads the trials for witchcraft in 
the judicial records of Scotland, and, after smiling at the frivo- 
lous, inconsistent testimony against the accused, comes to the 
cool, uncommented marginal note of the reporter : " Convicta et 
combusta," does not feel his heart leap for horror ? But, if he 
comes to an entry like the following, he feels as though lightning 
from heaven could but inflict too mild a punishment on the 
perpetrators of such unnatural crimes. 

" 1608, Dec. 1.— The Earl of Mar declared to the council, that 
some women were taken in Broughton as witches, and being put 
to an assize, and convicted, albeit they persevered constant in 
their denial to the end, they were burnt quick (alive), after such 
a cruel manner, that some of them died in despair, renouncing 
and blaspheming God ; and others, half-hurned, brak out of the 
fire, and were cast in it again, till they were burned to death." Entry 
in Sir Thomas Hamilton's 3Ii7iutes of Proceedings in the Privy 
Council. (From W. Scott's Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, 
p. 315.) 

Really, I do not believe that the Peruvians ever carried fana- 
ticism so far. Yet, a counterpart to this horrible picture is found 
in the history of New England. A man, named Cory, being 
accused of witchcraft, and refusing to plead, was accordingly 
pressed to death. And when, in the agony of death, the unfor- 


Nor are luxury or enervation more powerful in 
their effects. These vices are almost always pecu- 

tunate man thrust out his tongue, the sheriff, without the least 
emotion, crammed it back into the mouth -with his cane. (See 
Cotton Mather's Magnolia Christi Americana, Hardford. Thau. 
Pneu, c. vii. p. 383, et passim.) 

Did the ferocity of the most brutish savages ever invent any 
torture more excruciating than that in use in the British Isles, 
not much more than two centuries ago, for bringing poor, decre- 
pit old women to the confession of a crime which never existed 
but in the crazed brain of bigots. " The nails were torn from the 
fingers with smith's pincers ; pins driven into the places which the 
nails defended ; the knees were crushed in the boots, the finger- 
bones splintered in the pilniewinks,'" etc. (Scott, op. cit., p. 312.) 
But then, it is true, they had a more gentle torture, which an Eng- 
lish Lord (Eglington) had the honor and humanity to invent ! This 
consisted in placing the legs of a poor woman in the stocks, and 
then loading the bare shins with bars of iron. Above thirty stones 
of iron were placed upon the limbs of an unfortunate woman 
before she could be brought to the confession which led her to 
the stake. (Scott, op. cit., pp. 321, 324, 327, etc. etc.) 

As late as 1682, not yet 200 years ago, three women were 
hanged, in England, for witchcraft ; and the fatal statute against 
it was not abolished until 1751, when the rabble put to death, in 
the most horrible manner, an old pauper woman, and very nearly 
killed another. 

And, in the middle of last century, eighty-five persons were 
burnt, or otherwise executed, for witchcraft, at Mohra, in 
Sweden. Among them were fifteen young children. 

If God had ordained that fanaticism should be punished by 
national ruin, were not these crimes, in which, in most cases, 


liar to tlie higher classes, and seldom penetrate 
the whole mass of the population. But I doubt 
whether among the Greeks, the Persians, or the 
Eomans, whose downfall they are said to have 
caused, luxury and enervation, albeit in a different 
form, had risen to a higher pitch than we see them 
to-day in some of our modern States, in France, 
Germany, England, and Russia, for instance. The 
two last countries are especially distinguished for 
the luxury prevalent among the higher classes, 
and yet, these two countries seem to be endued 
with a vitality much more vigorous and promising 
than most other European States. In the Middle 
Ages, the Yenetians, ' Genoese, Pisanese, accumu- 
lated in their magazines the treasures and luxuries 
of the world ; yet, the gorgeous magnificence of 
their palaces, and the splendid decorations of their 
vessels, did certainly not diminish their power, or 
subvert their dominion.^ 

the "whole nation participated, ■were not they horrible enough to 
draw upon the perpetrators the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah ? 
Surely, if fanaticism were the cause of national decay, most 
European nations had long since been swept from the face of 
the globe, "so that their places could nowhere be found." — H. 

' There seem, at first sight, to be exceptions to the truth of 
the assertion, that luxury, in itself, is not productive of national 
ruin. Venice, Genoa, Pisa, etc., were aristocratic republics, in 


Even tlie corruption of morals, tliis most terri- 
ble of all scourges, is not necessarily a cause of 
national ruin. If it were, the prosperity of a na- 
tion, its power and preponderance, would be in a 
direct ratio to the purity of its manners; and it is 
liardly necessary to say that tbis is not the case. 
The odd fashion of ascribing all sorts of imaginary 
virtues to the first Eomans, is now pretty much 
out of date.^ Few would now dare to bold up as 
models of morality those sturdy patricians of the 
old school, who treated their women as slaves, their 
children as cattle, and their creditors like wild 
beasts. If there should still be some who would 

■which, as in monarchies, a high degree of luxury is not only 
compatible with, but may even be greatly conducive to the 
prosperity of the state. But the basis of a democratic republic 
is a more or less perfect equality among its citizens, "which is 
often impaired, and, in the end, subverted by too great a dis- 
parity of •wealth. Yet, even in them, glaring contrasts between 
extravagant luxury and abject poverty are rather the sign than 
the cause, of the disappearance of democratic principles. Ex- 
amples might be adduced from history, of democracies in Avhich 
great wealth did not destroy democratic ideas and a consequent 
simplicity of manners. These ideas must first be forgotten, 
before wealth can produce luxury, and luxury its attendant 
train of evils. Though accelerating the downfall of a demo- 
cratic republic, it is therefore not the primary cause of that 
downfall. — H. 

' Balzac, Lef.tre a Madame la Duchesse de Montausier. 


defend so bad a cause, their reasoning could easily 
be refuted, and its want of solidity sliown. Abuse 
of power, in all epochs, has created equal indigna- 
tion; there were deeper reasons for the abolition of 
royalty than the rape of Lucretia, for the expulsion 
of the decemvirs than the outrage of Appius ; but 
these pretexts for two important revolutions, suffi- 
ciently demonstrate the public sentiment with regard 
to morals. It is a great mistake to ascribe the vigor 
of a young nation to its superior virtues ; since 
the beginning of historical times, there has not 
been a community, however small, among which 
all the reprehensible tendencies of human nature 
were not visible, notwithstanding which, it has in- 
creased and prospered. There are even instances 
where the splendor of a state was owing to the 
most abominable institutions. The Spartans are 
indebted for their renown, and place in history, to 
a legislation fit only for a community of bandits.^ 

1 That this stricture is not too severe will be obvious to any 
one who reflects on the pi'inciples upon which this legislation 
was based. Inculcating that war was the great business of 
life, and to be terrible to one's enemies the only object of manly 
ambition, the Spartan laws sacrificed the noblest private vir- 
tues and domestic affections. They deprived the female cha- 
racter of the charms that most adorn it — modesty, tenderness, 
and sensibility; they made men brutal, coarse, and cruel. 



So far from being willing to accord to youthful 
communities any superiority in regard to morals, 

They stunted individual talents ;. Sparta has produced but few 
great men, and these, says Macaulay, only became great -when 
they ceased to be Lacedemonians. Much unsound sentiment- 
ality has been expended in eulogizing Sparta, from Xenophon 
down to Mitford, yet the verdict of the unbiassed historian can- 
not differ very widely from that of Macaulay : "The Spartans 
purchased for their government a prolongation of its existence 
by the sacrifice of happiness at home, and dignity abroad. 
They cringed to the powerful, they trampled on the weak, they 
massacred their helots, they betrayed their allies, they con- 
trived to be a day too late for the battle of Marathon, they 
attempted to avoid the battle of Salamis, they suffered the 
Athenians, to whom they owed their lives and liberties, to be a 
second time driven from their country by the Persians, that 
they might finish their own fortifications on the Isthmus ; they 
attempted to take advantage of the distress to which exertions 
in their cause had reduced their preservers, in order to make 
them their slaves ; they strove to prevent those who had aban- 
doned their walls to defend them, from rebuilding them to de- 
fend themselves; they commenced the Peloponnesian war in 
violation of their engagements with their allies ; they gave up 
to the sword whole cities which had placed themselves under 
their protection; they bartered for advantages confined to 
themselves the interests, the freedom, and the lives of those 
who had served them most faithfully; they took, with equal 
complacency, and equal infamy, the stripes of Elis and the 
bribes of Persia ; they never showed either resentment or gra- 
titude; they abstained from no injury, and they revenged none. 
Above all, they looked on a citizen who served them well as 
their deadliest enemy." — Essays, iii. 389. — H. 


I have no doubt that, as nations advance in age 
and consequently approach their period of decay, 
they present to the eyes of the moralist a far more 
satisfactory spectacle.^ Manners become milder ; 

• The horrid scenes of California life, its lynch laws, murders, 
and list of all possible crimes, are still ringing in our ears, and 
have not entirely ceased, though their number is lessened, and they 
are rapidly disappearing before lg,-wful order. Australia offered, 
and still offers, the same spectacle. Texas, but a few years ago, 
and all newly settled countries in our day, afford another striking 
illustration of the author's remark. Young communities ever 
attract a great number of lawless and desperate men ; and this 
has been the case in all ages. Kome was founded by a band of 
fugitives from justice, and if her early history be critically ex- 
amined, it will be found to reveal a state of society, with which 
the Rome described by the Satirists, and upbraided by the Cen- 
sors, compares favorably. Any one who will cast a glance into 
Bishop Potter's Antiquities, can convince himself that the state 
of morals, in Athens, was no better in her most flourishing pe- 
riods than at the time of her downfall, if, indeed, as good ; not- 
withstanding the glowing colors in which Isocrates and his fol- 
lowers describe the virtues of her youthful period, and the 
degeneracy of the age. Who can doubt that public morality 
has attained a higher standard in England, at the present day 
•when her strength seems to have departed from her, than it had 
at any previous era in her history. AVhere are the brutal fox- 
hunting country squires of former centuries ? the good old cus- 
toms, when hospitality consisted in drinking one's guest under- 
neath the table ? What audience could now endure, or what 
police permit, the plays of Congreve and of Otway ? Even Shaks- 
peare has to be pruned by the moral censor, before he can charm 


men accommodate themselves more readily to one 
another ; tlie means of subsistence become, if not 

our ears. Addison himself, tliaii wlioin none contributed more 
to purify the morals of his age, bears unmistakable traces of 
the coarseness of the time in -which he wrote. It will be objected 
that we are only more prudish, no better at the bottom. But, 
even supposing that the same vices still exist, is it not a great 
step in advance, that they dare no longer parade themselves with 
unblushing impudence ? Many who derive their ideas of the 
Middle Ages, of chivalry, etc., from the accounts of romance 
writers, have very erroneous notions about the manners of that 
period. " It so happens," says Byron, " that the good old times 
when ' V amour du bon vieux temps, V amour antique^ flourished, 
were the most profligate of all possible centuries. Those who 
have any doubts on the subject may consult St. Palay, particu- 
larly vol. ii. p. 69. The vows of chivalry were no better kept 
than any other vows whatever, and the songs of the troubadour 
were not more decent, and certainly much less refined, than those 
of Ovid. The ' cours d' amour, parlements d' amour, ou de cour- 
toisie et de gentilesse,' had much more of love than of courtesy 
and gentleness. (See Roland on the same subject with St. Palay.") 
Preface to Childe Harold. I should not have quoted the autho- 
rity of a poet on historical matters, were I not convinced, from 
my own investigations, that his pungent remarks are perfectly 
correct. As a further confirmation, I may mention that a few 
years ago, in rummaging over the volumes of a large European 
library, I casually lit jipon a record of judicial proceedings 
during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, in a little common- 
wealth, whose simplicity of manners, and purity of public morals, 
especially in that period, has been greatly extolled by historians. 
There, I found a list of crimes, to which the most corrupt of 


easier, at least more varied; reciprocal obligations 
are better defined and understood; more refined 
theories of riglit and wrong gain ground. It would 
be difficult to sbow that at the time when the 
Greek arms conquered Darius, or when Greek 
liberty itself fled forever from the battle-field of 
Chgeronaea, or when the Goths entered Eome as 
victors; that the Persian monarchy, Athens, or 
the imperial city, in those times of their downfall, 
contained a smaller proportion of honest and vir- 
tuous people than in the most glorious epochs of 
their national existence. 

But we need not go so far back for illus- 
trations. If any one were required to name 
the place where the spirit of ou.r age displayed 
itself in the most complete contrast with the 
virtuous ages of the world (if such there were), 
he would most certainly point out Paris, Yet, 
many learned and pious persons have assured 
me, that nowhere, and in no epoch, could more 
practical virtue, solid piety, greater delicacy of 
conscience, be found than within the precincts of 
this great and corrupt city. The ideal of goodness 

modern great cities can furnish no parallel. In horror and hellish 
ingenuity, they can be faintly approached only by the punish- 
ment which followed them. Of many, our generation ignores 
even the name, and, of others, dares not utter them. — H. 


is as exalted, tlie duties of a Christian as well un- 
derstood, as by the most brilliant luminaries of 
the Church in the seventeenth century. I might 
add, that these virtues are divested of the bitterness 
and severity from which, in those times, they were 
not always exempt ; and that they are more united 
with feelings of toleration and universal philan- 
thropy.^ Thus we find, as if to counterbalance 
the fearful aberrations of our own epoch, in the 
principal theatre of these aberrations, contrasts 
more numerous and more striking, than probably 
blessed the sight of the faithful in preceding ages. 
I cannot even perceive that great men are want- 
ing in those periods of corruption and decay ; on 
the contrary, these periods are often signalized by 

' This assertion may surprise those "who, in the words of a 
piquant writer on Parisian life, "have thought of Paris only 
under two aspects — one, as the emporium of fashion, fun, and 
refinement ; the abode of good fellows somewhat dissipated, of 
fascinating ladies somewhat over-kind ; of succulent dinners, 
somewhat indigestible; of pleasures, somewhat illicit ; — the other, 
as the place par excellence, of revolutions, emeutes, and barri- 
cades." Yet, all who have pierced below the brilliant surface, 
and penetrated into the recesses of destitution and crime, have 
seen the ministering angel of charity on his errand, and can bear 
witness to the truth of the author's remark. No city can show 
a greater number of benevolent institutions, none more active 
and practical<J?r2«aie charity, which inquires not after the coun- 
try or creed of its object. — H. 


the appearance of men remarkable for energy of 
cliaracter and stern virtue.^ If we look at the 
catalogue of Eoman emperors, we find a great 
number of them as exalted in merit as in rank; 
we meet witk names like those of Trajan, Antoni- 
nus Pius, Septimius Severus, Alexander Severus, 
Jovian; and if we glance beneath the throne, 
we see a glorious constellation of great doctors 
of our faith, of martyrs, and apostles of the pri- 
mitive church; not to consider the number of 
virtuous pagans. Active, firm, and valorous minds 
filled the camps and the forums, so that it may 
reasonably be doubted whether Eome, in the times 
of Cincinnatus, possessed so great a number of 
eminent men in every department of human ac- 
tivity. Many other examples might be alleged, to 
prove that senile and tottering communities, so 
far from being deficient in men of virtue, talent, 
and action, possess them probably in greater num- 
ber than young and rising states; and that their 
general standard of morals is often higher. 

Public morality, indeed, varies greatly at differ- 
ent periods of a nation's history. The history of 
the French nation, better than any other, illustrates 

' Tottering, falling Greece, gave birth to a Demosthenes, a 
Phocian ; the period of the downfall of the Roma^ republic was 
the age of Cicero, Brutus, and Cato. — H. 


this fact. Few will deny tliat the Grallo-Eomans 
of the fifth and sixth centuries, though a subject 
race, were greatly superior in point of morals 
to their heroic conquerors.^ Individually taken, 

' The subjoined picture of the manners of the Frankish con- 
querors of Gaul, is selected on account of the weighty authority 
from which it comes, from among a number of even darker ones. 
" The history of Gregory of Tours shows us on the one hand, 
a fierce and barbarous nation ; and on the other, kings of as 
bad a character. These princes were bloody, unjust, and cruel, 
because all the nation was so. If Christianity seemed sometimes 
to soften them, it was only by the terror which this religion im- 
prints in the guilty ; the church supported herself against them 
by the miracles and prodigies of her saints. The kings were not 
sacrilegious, because they dreaded the punishments inflicted on 
sacrilegious people : but this excepted, they committed, either 
in their passion or cold blood, all manner of crimes and injus- 
tice, because in these the avenging hand of the Deity did not 
appear so visible. The Franks, as I have already observed, 
bore with bloody kings, because they were fond of blood them- 
selves ; they were not afi"ected with the wickedness and extortion 
of their princes, because this was their own character. There 
had been a great many laws established, but the kings rendered 
them all useless by the practice of issuing precepiions, a kind of 
decrees, after the manner of the rescripts of the Roman empe- 
rors. These preceptions were orders to the judges to do, or to 
tolerate, things contrary to law. They were given for illicit 
marriages, and even those with consecrated virgins ; for trans- 
ferring successions, and depriving relations of their rights ; for 
putting to dgath persons who had not been convicted of any 
crime, and not been heard in their defence, etc." — Montesquieu, 
Rsprit des Lois, b. 31, c. 2.,— 11. 


tliey were often not inferior to tlie latter in cour- 
age and military virtue.^ The intermixture of the 
two races, during the eighth, ninth, and tenth cen- 
turies, reduced the standard of morals among the 
whole nation to a disgraceful level. In the three 
succeeding centuries, the picture brightens again. 
Yet, this period of comparative light was suc- 
ceeded by the dark scenes of the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries, when tyranny and debauchery 
ran riot over the land, and infected all classes of 
society, not excepting the clergy ; when the nobles 
robbed their vassals, and the commonalty sold their 
country to a foreign foe. This period, so distin- 
guished for the total absence of patriotism, and 
every honest sentiment, was emphatically one of 
decay ; the state was shaken to its very foundation, 
and seemed ready to bury under its ruins so much 
shame and dishonor. But the crisis passed; foreign 
and intestine foes were vanquished ; the machinery 
of government reconstructed on a firmer basis ; 
the state of society improved. JSTotwithstanding 
its bloody follies, the sixteenth century dishonors 
less the annals of the nation than its predecessors, 
&,nd it formed the transition period to the age of 
those pure and ever-brilliant lights, Fenelon, Bos- 

' Augustin Thierry, Recit des Temps Merovingiens. (See par- 
ticularly the History of Mummolus.) 


suet, Montausier, and others. This period, again, 
was succeeded by the vices of the regency, and the 
horrors of the Revolution. Since that time, we 
have witnessed ahnost incredible fluctuations of 
public morality every decade of years. 

I have sketched rapidly, and merely pointed 
out the most prominent changes. To do even 
this properly, much more to descend to details, 
would require greater space than the limits and 
designs of this work permit. But I think what 
I have said is sufficient to show that the cor- 
ruption of public morals, though always a great, 
is often a transient evil, a malady which may be 
corrected or which corrects itself, and cannot, 
therefore, be the sole cause of national ruin, 
though it may hasten the catastrophe. 

The corruption of public morals is nearly allied 
to another evil, which has been assigned as one of 
the causes of the downfall of empires. It is ob- 
served of Athens and Rome, that the glory of 
these two commonwealths faded about the same 
time that they abandoned their national creeds. 
These, however, are the only examples of such a 
coincidence that can be cited. The religion of 
Zoroaster was never more flourishing in the Per- 
sian empire, than at the time of its downfall. 
Tyre, Carthage, Judea, the Mexican and Peruvian 


empires expired at tlie moment wlien they em- 
braced their altars -with the greatest zeal and 
devotion. Nay, I do not believe that even at 
Athens and Eome, the ancient creed was abandon- 
ed until the day when it was replaced in every 
conscience, by the complete triumph of Christ- 
ianity. I am firmly convinced that, politically 
speaking, irreligion never existed among any 
people, and that none ever abandoned the faith of 
their forefathers, except in exchange for another. 
In other words, there never was such a thing as a 
religious interregnum. The Gallic Teutates gave 
way to the Jupiter of the Romans ; the worship of 
Jupiter, in its turn, was replaced by Christianity. 
It is true that, in Athens, not long before the time 
of Pericles, and in Eome, towards the age of the 
Scipios, it became the fashion among the higher 
classes, first to reason upon religious subjects, 
next to doubt them, and finally to disbelieve them 
altogether, and to pride themselves upon sceptic- 
ism. But though there were many who joined 
in the sentiment of the ancient "freethinker" who 
dared the augurs to look at one another without 
laughing, yet this scepticism never gained ground 
among the mass of the people. 

Aspasia at her evening parties, and Lelius 
among his intimates, might ridicule the religious 


dogmas of tlieir country, and amuse themselves at 
the expense of those that believed them. But at 
both these epochs, the most brilliant in the history 
of Greece and Eome, it would have been highly 
dangerous to express such sentiments publicly. 
The imprudence of his mistress came near costing 
Pericles himself dearly, and the tears which he 
shed before the tribunal, were not in themselves 
sufficiently powerful to save the fair sceptic. The 
poets of the times, Aristophanes, Sophocles, and 
afterwards -^schylus, found it necessary, whatever 
were their private sentiments, to flatter the reli- 
gious notions of the masses. The whole nation 
regarded Socrates as an impious innovator, and 
would have put to death Anaxagoras, but for the 
strenuous intercession of Pericles. Nor did the 
philosophical and sceptical theories penetrate the 
masses at a later period. Never, at any time, did 
they extend beyond the sphere of the elegant and 
refined. It may be objected that the opinion of 
the rest, the mechanics, traders, the rural popula- 
tion, the slaves, etc., was of little moment, as 
they had no influence in the policy of the state. 
If this were the case, why was it necessary, until 
the last expiring throb of Paganism, to preserve 
its temples and pay the hierophants ? Why did 
men, the most eminent and enlightened, the most 


sceptical in their religious notions, not only don 
the sacerdotal robe, but even descend to the most 
repugnant offices of the popular worship ? The 
daily reader of Lucretius^ had to snatch moments 
of leisure from the all-absorbing game of politics, 
to compose a treatise on haruspicy. I allude to 
the first C^sar.2 And all his successors, down to 
Constantine, were compelled to unite the pontificial 
with the imperial dignity. Even Constantine 
himself, though as a Christian prince he had far 
better reasons for repugnance to such an office 

» Lucretius was the author of De Rerum Natura, and one 
of the most distinguished of pagan " free-thinkers." He labored 
to combine the philosophy of Epicurus, Evhenius, and others, 
into a sort of moral religion, much after the fashion of some of 
the German mystics and Platonists of our times.— H, 

2 Cffisar, whose private opinions were both democratical and 
sceptical, found it convenient to speak very differently in pub- 
lic, as the funeral oration in honor of his aunt proves. '' On 
the maternal side, said he, my aunt Julia is descended from 
the kings ; on the paternal, from the immortal gods. For my 
aunt's mother was of the family of the Martii, who are" 
descended from King Ancus Martius ; and the Julii, to 
which stock our family belongs, trace their origin to Venus. 
Thus, in her blood was blended the majesty of kings, the most 
powerful of men, and the sanctity of the gods, who have even 
the kings in their ^oyt&r:'— Suetonius, Julius, 5. 

Are not these sentiments very monarchical for a democrat ; 
very religious for an atheist ? 



than any of his predecessors, was compelled 
to compromise with the still powerful ancient 
religion of the nation.' This is a clear proof 
of the prevalence of the popular sentiment 
over the opinion of the higher and more en- 
lightened classes. They might appeal to reason 
and common sense, against the absurdities of the 
masses, but the latter would not, could not, re- 
nounce one faith until they had adopted another, 
confirming the old truth, that in the affairs of this 
world, the positive ever takes precedent over the 
negative. The popular sentiment was so strong 
that, in the third century, it infected even the 
higher classes to some extent, and created among 
them a serious religious reaction, which did not 
entirely subside until after the final triumph of 
Christianity. The revolution of ideas which gra- 
dually diffused true religion among all classes, is 
highly interesting, and it may not be altogether 
irrelevant to my subject, to point out the principal 
causes which occasioned it. 

In the latter stages of the Eoman empire, the 
armies had acquired such undue political prepon- 

1 It is ■well knoTvn that Constantine did not receive tlie rite 
of baptism until within the last hours of his life, although he 
professed to be a sincere believer. The coins, also, struck 
during his reign, all bore pagan emblems. — H. 


derance, that from the emperor, who inevitably 
was chosen by them, down to the pettiest governor 
of a district, all the functionaries of the govern- 
ment issued from the ranks. They had sprung 
from those popular masses, of whose passionate 
attachment to their faith I have already spoken, 
and upon attaining their elevated stations, came 
in contact with the former rulers of the country, 
the old distinguished families, the municipal dig- 
nitaries of cities, in fact those classes who took 
pride and delight in sceptical literature. At first 
there was hostility between these latter and the 
real rulers of the state, whom they would willingly 
have treated as upstarts, if they had dared. But 
as the court gave the tone, and all the minor mili- 
tary chiefs were, for the most part, devout and 
fanatic, the sceptics were compelled to disguise 
their real sentiments, and the philosophers set 
about inventing systems to reconcile the rational- 
istic theories with the state religion. This revival 
of pagan piety caused the greater number of the 
persecutions. The rural populations, who had 
suffered their faith to be outraged by the atheists 
so long as the higher classes domineered over 
them, now, that the imperial democracy had re- 
duced all to the same level, were panting for 
revenge; but, mistaking their victims, they directed 


their fury against the Ckristians. The real scep- 
tics were such men as King Agrippa, who wishes 
to hear St. PauP from mere curiosity ; who hears 
him, debates with him, considers him a fool, but 
never thinks of persecuting him because he differs 
in opinion ; or Tacitus, the historian, who, though 
full of contempt for the believers in the new 
religion, blames Nero for his cruelties towards 

Agrippa and Tacitus were pagan sceptics. Dio- 
cletian was a politician, who gave way to the 
clamors of an incensed populace. Decius and 
Aurelian were fanatics, like the masses they 
governed, and from whom they had sprung. 

Even after the Christian religion had become 
the religion of the state, what immense difficulties 
were experienced in attempting to bring the masses 
within its pale ! So hopeless was in some places 
the contest with the local divinities, that in many 
instances conversion was rather the result of ad- 
dress, than the effect of persuasion. The genius 
of the holy propagators of our religion was re- 
duced to the invention of pious frauds. The 
divinities of the groves, fields, and fountains, were 
still worshipped, but under the name of the saints, 
the martyrs, and the Virgin. After being for a 

' Acts xxvi. 24, 28, 31. 


time misdirected, these homages would finally 
find the right way. Yet such is the obstinacy 
with which the masses cling to a faith once re- 
ceived, that there are traces of it remaining in our 
day. There are still parishes in France, where 
some heathenish superstition alarms the piety, and 
defies the efforts of the minister. In Catholic Brit- 
tany, even in the last centuries, the bishop in vain 
attempted to dehort his flock from the worship of 
an idol of stone. The rude image was thrown 
into the water, but rescued by its obstinate adorers ; 
and the assistance of the military was required to 
break it to pieces. Such was, and such is the 
longevity of paganism. I conclude, therefore, that 
no nation, either in ancient or modern times, ever 
abandoned its religion without having duly and 
earnestly embraced another, and that, consequent- 
ly, none ever found itself, for a moment, in a state 
of irreligion, which could have been the cause of 
its ruin. 

Having denied the destructive effects of fana- 
ticism, luxury, and immorality, and the political 
possibility of irreligion, I shall now speak of the 
effects of bad government. This subject is well 
worthy of an entire chapter. 




Misgovernment defined — Athens, China, Spain, Germany, Italy, 
etc. — Is not in itself a sufficient cause for the ruin of nations. 

I AM aware of the difficulty of the task I have 
undertaken in attempting to establish a truth, 
which by many of my readers will be regarded as 
a mere paradox. That good laws and good 
government exert a direct and powerful in- 
fluence upon the well-being and prosperity of 
a nation, is an indisputable fact, of which I am 
fully convinced ; but I think that history proves 
that they are not absolute conditions of the exist- 
ence of a community; or, in other words, that 
their absence is not necessarily productive of ruin, 
Nations, like individuals, are often preyed upon 
by fearful diseases, which show no outward traces 
of the ravages within, and which, though danger- 
ous, are net always fatal. Indeed, if they were, 


few communities would survive the first few years 
of tlieir formation, for it is precisely during that 
period that the government is worst, the laws most 
imperfect, and least observed. But here the com- 
parison between the body political and the human 
organization ceases, for while the latter dreads 
most the attack of disease during infancy, the 
former easily overcomes it at that period. History 
furnishes innumerable examples of successful con- 
test on the part of young communities with the 
most formidable and most devastating political 
evils, of which none can be worse than ill-con- 
ceived laws, administered in an oppressive or 
negligent manner.^ 

Let us first define what we understand by bad 
government. The varieties of this evil are as 
various as nations, countries, and epochs. It were 
impossible to enumerate them all. Yet, by class- 
ing them under four principal categories, few 
varieties will be omitted. 

A government is bad, when imposed by foreign 
influence. Athens experienced this evil under the 
thirty tyrants. Yet she shook off the odious 

' It will be understood that I speak here, not of the political 
existence of a centre of sovereignty, but of the life of an entire 
nation, the prosperity of a civilization. Here is the place to 
apply the definition given above, page 114. 


yoke, and patriotism, far from expiring, gained 
renewed vigor by the oppression. 

A government is bad, wlien based upon absolute 
and unconditional conquest. Almost tlie wbole ex- 
tent of France in tlie fourteentb century, groaned 
under tbe dominion of England. The ordeal was 
passed, and the nation rose from it more powerful 
and brilliant than before. China was overrun and 
conquered by the Mongol hordes. They were 
ejected from its territories, after having previously 
undergone a singular transformation. It next fell 
into the hands of the Mantchoo conquerors, but 
though they already count the years of their reign 
by centuries, they are now at the eve of experienc- 
ing the same fate as their Mongol predecessors. 

A government is especially bad, when the prin- 
ciples upon which it was based are disregarded or 
forgotten. This was the fate of the Spanish mo- 
narchy. It was based upon the military spirit of 
the nation, and upon its municipal freedom, and 
declined soon after these principles came to be 
forgotten. It is impossible to imagine greater 
political disorganization than this country repre- 
sented. Nowhere was the authority of the sove- 
reign more nominal and despised ; nowhere did 
the clergy lay themselves more open to censure. 
Agriculture and industry, following the same 


downward impulse, were also involved in the 
national marasmus. Yet Spain, of whom so many 
despaired, at a moment when her star seemed 
setting forever, gave the glorious example of 
heroic and successful resistance to the arms of one 
who had hitherto experienced no check in his 
career of conquest. Since that, the better spirit 
of the nation has been roused, and there is, prob- 
ably, at this time, no European state with more 
promising prospects, and stronger vitality.^ 

* • This assertion will appear paradoxical to those who are in 
the habit of looking upon Spain as the type of hopeless national 
degradation. But whoever studies the history of the last thirty 
years, which is but a series of struggles to rise from this posi- 
tion, will probably arrive at the same conclusions as the author. 
The revolution of 1820 redeems the character of the nation. 
*' The Spanish Constitution" became the watchword of the 
friends of constitutional liberty in the South of Europe, and ere 
thirteen months had fully passed, it had become the fundamental 
law of three other countries — Portugal, Naples, and Sardinia. 
At the mere sound of those words, two kings had resigned their 
crowns. These revolutions were not characterized by excesses. 
They were, for the most part, accomplished peacefully, quietly, 
and orderly. They were not the result of the temporary pas- 
sions of an excited mob. The most singular feature of these 
countries is that the lowest dregs of the population are the most 
zealous adherents of absolutism. No, these revolutions were 
the work of the best elements in the population, the most intel- 
ligent classes, of people who knew what they wanted, and how 
to get it. And then, when Spain had set that ever glorious ex- 


A government is also very bad, when, by its 
institutions, it autliorizes an antagonism either 
between the supreme power and the nation, or 
among the diiferent classes of which it is com- 
posed. This was the case in the Middle Ages, 
when the kings of France and England were at 
war with their great vassals, and the peasants in 
perpetual feud with the lords. In Germany, the 
first efiects of the liberty of thought, were the 
civil wars of the Hussites, Anabaptists, and other 

ample to her neighbors, the great powers, with England at tlfe 
head, concluded to re-establish the former state of things. In 
those memorable congresses of plenipotentiaries, the most in- 
fluential was the representative of England, the Duke of Welling- 
ton, And by his advice, or, at least, with his sanction, an 
Austrian army entered Sardinia, and abolished the new constitu- 
tion ; an Austrian army entered Naples and abolished the new 
constitution ; English vessels of war threatened Lisbon, and Portu- 
gal abolished her new constitution ; and finally a French army 
entered Spain, and abolished the new constitution. So Naples 
and Portugal regained their tyrants, and Spain her imbecile 
dynasty. For years the Spaniards have tried to shake it off, 
and English influence alone has maintained on a great nation's 
throne, a wretch that would have disgraced the lowest walks of 
private life. But the day of Spanish liberty and Spanish inde- 
pendence will dawn, and perhaps already has dawned. The efl"orts 
of the last Cortes were wisely directed, and their proceedings 
marked with a manliness, a moderation, and a firmness that 
augur well for the future weal of Spain. — H. 


sectaries. Italy, at a more remote period, was so 
distracted by the division of the supreme authority 
for which emperor, pope, nobles, and municipali- 
ties contended, that the masses, not knowing whom 
to obey, in many instances finished by obeying 
neither. Yet in the midst of all these troubles, 
Italian nationality did not perish. On the con- 
trary, its civilization was at no time more brilliant, 
its industry never more productive, its foreign in- 
fluence never greater. 

If communities have survived such fearful po- 
litical tempests, it cannot well be said that national 
ruin is a necessary cause of misgovernment. Be- 
sides, wise and happy reigns are few and far 
between, in the history of every nation ; and these 
few are not considered such by all. Historians 
are not unanimous in their praise of Elizabeth, 
nor do they all consider the reign of "William and 
Mary as an epoch of prosperity for England. 
Truly this science of statesmanship, the highest 
and most complicated of all, is so disproportionate 
to the capacity of man,* and so various are the 
opinions concerning it, that nations have early and 
frequent opportunities of learning to accommo- 

' Who is not reminded of Oxenstierna's famous saying to 
his son : " Cum parva sapientia mundus gubernatur." — H. 


date themselves to misgovernment, wlaich, in its 
worst forms, is still preferable to anarchy. It is a 
well-proved fact, wliich. even a superficial study of 
history will clearly demonstrate, that communities 
often perish under the best government of a long 
series that came before.^ 

' It is obvious that so long as the vitality of a nation remains 
unimpaired, misgovernment can be but a temporary ill. The 
regenerative principle will be at work to remove the evil and 
heal the wounds it has inflicted ; and though the remedy be 
sometimes violent, and throw the state into fearful convulsions, 
it will seldom be found ineffectual. So long as the spirit of 
liberty prevailed among the Romans, the Tarquiniuses and 
Appiuses were as a straw before the storm of popular indigna- 
tion ; but the death of Cassar could but substitute a despot in 
the stead of a mild and generous usurper. The first Brutus 
might save the nation, because he was the expression of the 
national sentiment ; the second could not, because he was one 
man opposed to millions. It is a common error to ascribe too 
much to individual exertions, and whimsical philosophers have 
amused themselves to trace great events to petty causes ; but 
a deeper inquiry will demonstrate that the great catastrophes 
which arrest our attention and form the landmarks of history, 
are but the inevitable result of all the whole chain of antece- 
dent events. Julius Csesar and Napoleon Bonaparte were, indeed, 
especially gifted for their great destinies, but the same gifts 
could not have raised them to their exalted positions at any 
other epoch than the one in which each lived. Those petty 
causes are but the drop which causes the measure to overflow, 
the pretext of the moment ; or as the small fissui-e in the dyke 


which produces the crevasse: the wall of waters stood behind. 
No man can usurp supreme power, unless the prevailing ten- 
dency of the nation favors it; no man can long persist in hur- 
rying a nation along in a course repulsive to it; and in this 
sense, therefore, not with regard to its abstract justness, it is 
undoubtedly true, that the voice of the nation is the voice of 
God. It is the expression of what shall and must be. — H. 





Skeleton history of a nation — Origin of castes, nobility, etc. — 
Vitality of nations not necessarily extinguished by conquest — 
China, Hindostan — Permanency of their peculiar ciyilizations. 

If tlie spirit of tlie preceding pages has been at 
all understood, it will be seen that I am far from 
considering these great national maladies, mis- 
government, fanaticism, irreligion, and immorality, 
as mere trifling accidents, without influence or im- 
portance. On the contrary, I sincerely pity the 
community which is afflicted by such scourges, 
and think that no efforts cau be misdirected which 
tend to mitigate or remove them. But I repeat, 
that unless these disorganizing elements are grafted 
upon another more destructive principle, unless 
they are the consequences of a greater, though 
concealed, evil; we may rest assured that their 
ravages are not fatal, and that society, after a 


shorter or longer period of suffering, will escape 
their toils, perhaps with renewed vigor and youth. 
The examples I have alleged seem to me con- 
clusive ; their number, if necessary, might be in- 
creased to any extent. But the conviction has 
already gained ground, that these are but second- 
ary evils, to which an undue importance has 
hitherto been attached, and that the law which 
governs the life and death of societies must be 
sought for elsewhere, and deeper. It is admitted 
that the germ of destruction is inherent in the 
constitution of communities; that so long as it 
remains latent, exterior dangers are little to be 
dreaded ; but when it has once attained full growth 
and maturity^ the nation must die, even though 
surrounded by the most favorable circumstances, 
precisely as a jaded steed breaks down, be the 
track ever so smooth. 

Degeneracy was the name given to this cause of 
dissolution. This view of the question was a great 
step towards the truth, but, unfortunately, it went 
no further; the first difficulty proved insurmount- 
able. The term was certainly correct, etymologi- 
cally and in every other respect, but how is it with 
the definition. A people is said to be degenerated, 
when it is badly governed, abuses its riches, is 
fanatical, or irreligious ; in short, when it has lost 


llie characteristic Adrtues of its forefatliers. Tliis 
is begging tlie question. Tlins, communities suc- 
cumb under tbe burden of social and political evils 
only wben they are degenerate, and they are de- 
generate only when such evils prevail. This cir- 
cular argument proves nothing but the small 
progress hitherto made in the science of national 
biology. I readily admit that nations perish from 
degeneracy, and from no other cause ; it is when 
, in that wretched condition, that foreign attacks are 
fatal to them, for then they no longer possess the 
strength to protect themselves against adverse 
fortune, or to recover from its blows. They die, 
because, though exposed to the same perils as their 
ancestors, they have not the same powers of over- 
coming them. I repeat it, the term degeneracy is 
correct ; but it is necessary to define it, to give it 
a real and tangible meaning. It is necessary to 
say how and why this vigor, this capacity of over- 
coming surrounding dangers, are lost. Hitherto, 
we have been satisfied with a mere word, but the 
thing itself is as little known as ever.^ The step 
beyond, I shall attempt to make. 

' The author has neglected to advert to one very clear expla- 
nation of this word, -which, from its extensive popularity, 
seems to me to deserve some notice. It is said, and very com- 
monly believed, that there is a physical degeneracy in mankind ; 


In my opinion, a nation is degenerate, wlien 
tlie blood of its founders no longer flows in its 

that a nation cultivating for a long time the arts of peace, and 
enjoying the fruits of well-directed industry, loses the capacity 
for -warfare; in other words becomes effeminate, and, conse- 
quently, less capable of defending itself against ruder, and, there- 
fore, more warlike invaders. It is further said, though with less 
plausibility, that there is a general degeneracy of the human 
race — that we are inferior in physical strength to our ancestors, 
etc. If this theory could be supported by incontestable facts — 
and there are many who think it possible — it would give to the 
term degeneracy that real and tangible meaning which the author 
alleges to be wanting. But a slight investigation will demon- 
strate that it is more specious than correct. 

In the first place, to prove that an advance in civilization 
does not lessen the material puissance of a nation, but rather 
increases it, we may point to the well-kn^wn fact that the most 
civilized nations are the most formidable opponents in warfare, 
because they have brought the means of attack and defence to 
the greatest perfection. 

But that for this strength they are not solely indebted to arti- 
ficial means, is proved by the history of modern civilized states. 
The French now fight with as much martial ardor and intrepi- 
dity, and with more success than they did in the times of Fran- 
cis I. or Louis XIV., albeit they have since both these epochs 
made considerable progress in civilization, and this progress 
has been most perceptible in those classes which form the bulk 
and body of armies. England, though, perhaps, she could not 
muster an army as large as in former times, has hearts as stout, 
and arms as strong as those that gained for her imperishable 
glory at Agincourt and Poitiers. The charge at Balaklava, rash 


veins, but has been gradually deteriorated by 
successive foreign admixtures ; so that the nation, 

and useless as it may be termed, was worthy of the followers of 
the Black Prince. 

A theory to be correct, must admit of mathematical demon- 
stration. The most civilized nations, then, would be the most 
effeminate; the most barbarous, the most warlike. And, de- 
scending from nations to individuals, the most cultivated ^and 
refined mind would be accompanied by a deficiency in many of 
the manly virtues. Such an assertion is ridiculous. The most 
refined and fastidious gentleman has never, as a class, displayed 
less courage and fortitude than the rowdy and fighter by pro- 
fession. Men sprung from the bosom of the most" polished 
circles in the most civilized communities, have surpassed the 
most warlike barbarians in deeds of hardihood and heroic 

Civilization, therefore, produces no degeneracy ; the cultiva- 
tion of the arts of peace, no diminution of manly virtues. We have 
seen the peaceful burghers of free cities successfully resist the 
trained bands of a superior foe ; we have seen the artisans and 
merchants of Holland invincible to the veteran armies of the 
then most powerful prince of Christendom, backed as he was 
by the inexhaustible treasures of a newly discovered hemisphere ; 
we have seen, in our times, troops composed of volunteers who 
left their hearthstones to fight for their country, rout incredible 
odds of the standing armies of a foe, who, for the last thirty years, 
has known no peace. 

I believe that an advanced state of civilization, accompanied 
by long peace, gives rise to a certain domestication of man, that 
is to say, it lays on a polish over the more ferocious or pugna- 
cious tendencies of his nature ; because it, in some measure de- 


■while retaining its original name, is no longer 
composed of tlie same elements. The attenuation 

priyes him of the opportunities of exercising them, but it can- 
not deprive him of the power, should the opportunity present 
itself. Let us suppose two brothers born in some of our great 
commercial cities, one to enter a counting-house, the other to 
settle in the western wilderness. The former might become a 
polished, elegant, perhaps even dandified young gentleman ; the 
other might evince a supreme contempt for all the amenities of 
life, be ever ready to draw his bowie-knife or revolver, however 
slight the provocation. The country requires the services of 
both ; a great principle is at stake, and in some battle of Mata- 
moras or Buena Vista, the two brothers fight side by side ; who 
will be the braver ? 

I believe that both individual and national character admit of 
a certain degree of pressure by surrounding circumstances; 
the pressure removed, the character at once regains its ori- 
ginal form. See with what kindliness the civilized descendant 
of the wild Teuton hunter takes to the hunter's life in new 
countries, and how soon he learns to despise the comforts of 
civilized life and fix his abode in the solitary wilderness. The 
Normans had been settled over six centuries in the beautiful 
province of France, to which they gave their name ; their nobles 
had frequented the most polished court in Europe, adapted 
themselves to the fashions and requirements of life in a luxuri- 
ous metropolis ; they themselves had learned to plough the soil 
instead of the wave ; yet in another hemisphere they at once 
regained their ancient habits, and — as six hundred years before — 
became the most dreaded pirates of the seas they infested ; the 
savage buccaneers of the Spanish main. I can see no difference 
between Lolonnois and his followers, and the terrible men of the 


of the original blood is attended by a modification 
of the original instincts, or modes of thinking; 
the new elements assert their influence, and when 
they have once gained perfect and entire prepon- 
derance, the degeneration may be considered as 
complete. "With the last r^nnant of the original 
ethnical principle, expires the life of the society 
and its civilization. The masses, which composed 

north (his lineal ancestors) that ravaged the shores of the Seine 
and the Rhine, and whose name is even yet mentioned ■with 
horror every evening, in the other hemisphere, by thousands of 
praying children: "God preserve us from the Northmen." 
Morgan, the Welch buccaneer, who, with a thousand men, van- 
quished five times as many well-equipped Spaniards, took their 
principal cities, Porto Bello and Panama ; who tortured his 
captives to make them reveal the hiding-place of their treasure ; 
Morgan might have been — sixteen centuries notwithstanding — 
a tributary chief to Caractacus, or one' of those who opposed 
Csesar's landing in Britain. To make the resemblance still 
more complete, the laws and regulations of these lawless bands 
were a precise copy of those to which their not more savage 
ancestors bound themselves. 

I regret that my limited space precludes me from entering 
into a more elaborate exposition of the futility of the theory 
that civilization, or a long continued state of peace, can produce 
physical degeneracy or inaptitude for the ruder duties of the 
battle-field ; but I believe that what I have said will suffice 
to suggest to the thoughtful reader numerous confirmations of 
my position ; and I may, therefore, now refer him to Mr. Gobi- 
neau's explanation of the term degeneracy. — H. 


it, have tliencefortli no separate, independent, so- 
cial and political existence ; they are attracted to 
different centres of civilization, and swell the ranks 
of new societies having new instincts and new 

In attempting to establish this theorem, I am 
met by a question which involves the solution of 
a far more difficult problem than any I have yet 
approached. This question, so momentous in its 
bearings, is the following : — 

Is there, in reality, a serious and palpable dif- 
ference in the capacity and intrinsic worth of dif- 
ferent branches of the human family? 

For the sake of clearness, I shall advance, a priori^ 
that this difference exists. It then remains to show 
how the ethnical character of a nation can undergo 
such a total change as I designate by the term 

Physiologists assert that the human frame is 
subject to a constant wear and tear, which would 
soon destroy the whole machine, but for new par- 
ticles which are continually taking the form and 
place of the old ones. So rapid is this change 
said to be, that, in a few years, the whole frame- 
work is renovated, and the material identity of the 
individual changed. The same, to a great extent, 
may be said of nations, only that, while the indi- 


vidual always preserves a certain similarity of form 
and features, those of a nation are subject to innu- 
merable and ever- varying changes. Let us take 
a nation at the moment when it assumes a political 
existence, and commences to play a part in the 
great drama of the world's stage. In its embryo, 
we call it a tribe. 

The simplest and most natural political institu- 
tion is that of tribes. It is the only form of 
government known to rude and savage nations. 
Civilization is the result of a great concentra- 
tion of powerful physical and intellectual forces,^ 
which, in small and scattered fragments, is impos- 
sible. The first step towards it is, therefore, un- 
doubtedly, the union of several tribes by alliance 
or conquest. Such a coalescence is what we call 
a nation or empire. I think it admits of an easy 

^ "Nothing but the great number of citizens in a state can 
occasion the flourishing of the arts and sciences. Accordingly, 
we see that, in all ages, it was great empires only which enjoyed 
this advantage. In these great states, the arts, especially that 
of agriculture, were soon brought to great perfection, and thus 
that leisure afforded to a considerable number of men, which is 
so necessary to study and speculation. The Babylonians, Assy- 
rians, and Egyptians, had the adyantage of being formed into 
regular, well-constituted states." — Origin of Laws and Sciences, 
and their Progress among the most Ancient Nations. By President 
De Goguet. Edinburgh, 1761, toI. i. pp. 272-273.— H. 


demonstration, tliat in proportion as a human 
family is endowed with the capacity for intellect- 
ual progress, it exhibits a tendency to enlarge the 
circle of its influence and dominion. On the con- 
trary, where that capacity is weak, or wanting, we 
find the population subdivided into innumerable 
small fragments, which, though in perpetual col- 
lision, remain forever detached and isolated. The 
stronger may massacre the weaker, but permanent 
conquest is never attempted ; depredatory incur- 
sions are the sole object and whole extent of war- 
fare. This is the case with the natives of Poly- 
nesia, many parts of Africa, and the Arctic regions. 
Nor can their stagnant condition be ascribed to 
local or climatical causes. We have seen such 
wretched hordes inhabiting, indifferently, tempe- 
rate as well as torrid or frigid zones; fertile prairies 
and barren deserts ; river-shores and coasts as well 
as inland regions. It must therefore be founded 
upon an inherent incapacity of progress. The 
more civilizable a race is, the stronger is the tend- 
ency for aggregation of masses. Complex politi- 
cal organizations are not so much the effect as the 
cause of civilization.^ A tribe with superior in- 

' "Conquests, by uniting many nations under one sovereign, 
have formed great and powerful empires, out of the ruins of 
many petty states. In these great empires, men began insen- 


tellectual and physical endowments, soon perceives 
that, to increase its power and prosperity, it must 
compel its neighbors to enter into the sphere of its 
influence. Where peaceful means fail, war is re- 
sorted to. Territories are conquered, a division 
into classes established between the victorious and 
the subjugated race; in one word, a nation has 
made its appearance upon the theatre of history. 
The impulse being once given, it will not stop 
short in the career of conquest. If wisdom and 

sibly to form clearer views of politics, juster and more salutary 
notions of government. Experience taught them to avoid the 
errors which had occasioned the ruin of the nations whom they 
had subdued, and put them upon taking measures to prevent 
surprises, invasions, and the like misfortunes. With these views 
they fortified cities, secured such passes as might have admitted 
an enemy into their country, and kept a certain number of troops 
constantly on foot. By these precautions, several States ren- 
dered themselves formidable to their neighbors, and none durst 
lightly attack powers which were every way so respectable. The 
interior parts of such mighty monarchies were no longer ex- 
posed to ravages and devastations. War was driven far from 
the centre, and only infected the frontiers. The inhabitants of 
the country, and of the cities, began to breathe in safety. The 
calamities which conquests and revolutions had occasioned, dis- 
appeared ; but the blessings which had grown out of them, re- 
mained. Ingenious and active spirits, encouraged by the repose 
which they enjoyed, devoted themselves to study. It loas in the 
bosom of great empires the arts were invented, and the sciences had 
their birth."— Op. cit., vol. i. Book 5, p. 326.— H. 


moderation preside in its councils, tlie tracks of 
its armies will not be marked by wanton destruc- 
tion and bloodshed ; tke monuments, institutions, 
and manners of tlie conquered will be respected ; 
superior creations will take tke place of the old, 
wkere changes are necessary and useful ; — a great 
empire will be formed.^ At first, and perhaps for 
a long time, victors and vanquished will remain 
separated and distinct. But gradually, as the 
pride of the conqueror becomes less obtrusive, and 
the bitterness of defeat is forgotten by the con- 
quered ; as the ties of common interest become 
stronger, the boundary line between them is ob- 
literated. Policy, fear, or natural justice, prompts 
the ■ masters to concessions ; intermarriages take 
place, and, in the course of time, the various eth- 
nical elements are blended, and the diiierent nations 
composing the state begin to consider themselves 

' The history of every great empire proyes the correctness of 
this remark. The conqueror never attempted to change the 
manners or local institutions of the peoples subdued, but con- 
tented himself with an acknowledgment of his supremacy, the 
payment of tribute, and the rendering of assistance in war. 
Those who have pursued a contrary course, may be likened to 
fin overflowing river, which, though it leaves temporary marks 
of its destructive course behind, must, sooner or later, return to 
its bed, and, in a short time, its invasions are forgotten, and 
their traces obliterated. — H. 



as one. This is the general history of the rise of 
all empires whose records have been transmitted 
to ns,^ An inferior race, by falling into the hands 

' The most striking illustration of the correctness of this 
reasoning, is found in Roman history, the earlier portion of 
which is — thanks to Niebuhr's genius — ^just beginning to be un- 
derstood. The lawless followers of Romulus first coalesced with 
the Sabines ; the two nations united, then compelled the Albans 
to raze their city to the ground, and settle in Rome. Next came 
the Latins, to whom, also, a portion of the city was allotted for 
settlement. These two conquered nations were, of course, not 
permitted the same civil and political privileges as the con- 
querors, and, with the exception of a few noble families among 
them (which probably had been, from the beginning, in the in- 
terests or the conquerors), these tribes formed the plebs. The 
distinction by nations was forgotten, and had become a distinc- 
tion of classes. Then began the progress which Mr. Gobineau 
describes. The Plebeians first gained their tribunes, who could 
protect their interests against the one-sided legislation of the 
dominant class ; then, the right of discussing and deciding cer- 
tain public questions in the comitia, or public assembly. Next, 
the law prohibiting intermarriage between the Patricians and 
Plebeians was repealed ; and thus, in course of time, the govern- 
ment changed from an oligarchical to a democratic form. I 
might go into details, or, I might mention other nations in which 
the same process is equally manifest, but I think the above well- 
known facts sufficient to bring the author's idea into a clear 
light, and illustrate its correctness. The history of the Middle 
Ages, the establishment of serfdom and its gradual abolition, 
also furnish an analogue. 

Wherever we see an hereditary aristocracy (whether called 
class or caste), it will be found to originate in a race, which, if 


of vigorous masters, is thus called to share a 
destiny, of which, alone, it would have been in- 
capable. Witness the Saxons by the Norman 
conquest.^ But, if there is a decided disparit}^ in 

no longer dominant, was once conqueror. Before the Normau 
conquest, the English aristocracy was Saxon, there were no 
nobles of the ancient British blood, east of Wales; after the 
conquest, the aristocracy was Norman, and nine- tenths .of the 
noble families of England to this day trace, or pretend to trace, 
their origin to that stock. The noble French families, anterior to 
the Revolution, were almost all of Frankish or Burgundian origin. 
The same observation applies everywhere else. In support of 
my opinion, I have Niebuhr's great authority : " AVherever there 
are castes, they are the consequence of foreign conquest and 
subjugation ; it is impossible for a nation to submit to such a 
system, unless it be compelled by the calamities of a conquest. 
By this means only it is, that, contrary to the will of a people, 
circumstances arise which afterwards assume the character of a 
division into classes or castes." — Led. on Anc. Hist. (In the 
English translation, this passage occurs in vol. i. p. 90.) 

In conclusion, I would observe that, whenever it becomes 
politic to flatter the mass of the people, the fact of conquest is 
denied. Thus, English writers labored hard to prove that Wil- 
liam the Norman did not, in reality, conquer the Saxons. Some 
time before the French Revolution, the same was attempted to 
be proved in the case of the Germanic tribes in France. L' Abb6 
du Bos, and other writers, taxed their ingenuity to disguise an 
obvious fact, and to hide the truth under a pile of ponderous 
volumes. — II. 

' " It has been a favorite thesis with many writers, to pretend 
that the Saxon government was, at the time of the conquest, by 


the capacity of tlie two races, tlieir mixture, wiiile 
it ennobles the baser, deteriorates the nobler ; a 
new race springs up, inferior to tlie one, though, 
superior to the other, and, perhaps, possessed of 
peculiar qualities unknown to either. The modi- 
fication of the ethnical character of the nation, 
however, does not terminate here. 

Every new acquisition of territory, by conquest 
or treaty, brings an addition of foreign blood. The 
wealth and splendor of a great empire attract 
crowds of strangers to its capital, great inland 

no means subverted ; that William of Normandy legally acceded 
to the throne, and, consequently, to the engagements of the 

Saxon kings But, if we consider that the manner in 

which the public power is formed in a state, is so very essential 
a part of its government, and that a thorough change in this 
respect was introduced into England by the conquest, we shall 
not scruple to allow that a neiv government was established. Nay, 
as almost the whole landed property in the kingdom was, at that 
time, transferred to other hands, a new system of criminal justice 
introduced, and the language of the law moreover altered, the 
revolution may be said to have been such as is not, perhaps, to 
be paralleled in the history of any other country." — De Lolme's 
English Constitution, c. i.., note c. — " The battle of Hastings, and 
the events which followed it, not only placed a Duke of Nor- 
mandy on the English throne, but gave up the whole population 
of England to the tyranny of the Norman race. The subjuga- 
tion of a nation has seldom, even in Asia, been more complete." 
— Macaulat's History of England, vol. i. p. 10. — H. 


cities, or seaports. Apart from the fact tliat the 
conquering race — that which founds the empire, 
and supports and animates it — is, in most cases, 
inferior in numbers to the masses which it subdued 
and assimilated; the conspicuous part which it 
takes in the affairs of the state, renders it more 
directly exposed to the fatal results of battles, 
proscriptions, and revolts.^ In some instances, 

' This assertion seems self-evident ; it may, however, be not 
altogether irrelevant to the subject, to direct attention to a few 
facts in illustration of it. Great national calamities like wars, 
proscriptions, and revolutions, are like thunderbolts, striking 
mostly the objects of greatest elevation. We have seen that a 
conquering race generally, for a long time even after the con- 
quest has been forgotten, forms an aristocracy, which generally 
monopolizes the prominent positions. In great political convul- 
sions, this aristocracy suffers most, often in numbers, and always 
in proportion. Thus, at the battle of Cannae, from 5,000 to 6,000 
Roman knights are said to have been slain, and, at all times, 
the officer's dress has furnished the most conspicuous, and at 
the same time the most important target for the death-dealing 
stroke. In those fearful proscriptions, in which Sylla and 
Marius vied with each other in wholesale slaughter, the number 
of victims included two hundred senators and thrrty-three ex- 
consuls. That the major part of the rest were prominent men, 
and therefore patricians, is obvious from the nature of this per- 
secution. Revolutions are most often, though not always, pro- 
duced by a fermentation among the mass of the population, who 
have a heavy score to settle against a class that has domineered 
and tyrannized over them. Their fury, therefore, is directed 



also, it happens tliat the substratum of native 
populations are singularly prolific — witness tlie 
Celts and Sclaves. Sooner or later, tlierefore, the 
conquering race is absorbed by the masses which 
its vigor and superiority have aggregated. The 
very materials of which it erected its splendor, and 
upon which it based its strength, are ultimately 
the means of its weakness and destruction. But 
the civilization which it has developed, may sur- 
vive for a limited period. The forward impulse, 
once imparted to the mass, will still propel it for a 
while, but its force is continually decreasing. Man- 

against this aristocracy. I have now before me a curious docu- 
ment (first published in the Prussian State- Gazette, in 1828, and 
for which I am indebted to a little German volume, Das Men- 
schengeschlecht auf seinem Gegenwartigen Standpunde, by Smidt- 
Phiseldeck), giving a list of the victims that fell under the 
guillotine by sentence of the revolutionary tribunal, from 
August, 1792, to the 27th of July, 1794, in a little less than 
two years. The number of victims there given is 2,774. Of 
these, 941 are of rank unknown. The remaining 1,833 may be 
divided in the following proportions : — 

1,084 highest nobility (princes, dukes, marshals of France, 
generals, and other officers, etc. etc.) 
636 of the gentry (members of Parliament, judges, etc. etc.) 
113 of the bourgeoisie (including non-commissioned officers 
and soldiers.) 


Such facts require no comments. — IT. 


ners, laws, and institutions remain, but the spirit 
wliicli animated them has fled ; the lifeless body 
still exhibits the apparent symptoms of life, and, 
perhaps, even increases, but the real strength has 
departed ; the edifice soon begins to totter, at the 
slightest collision it will crumble, and bury beneath 
its ruins the civilization which it had developed. 

If this definition of degeneracy be accepted, and 
its consequences admitted, the problem of the rise 
and fall of empires no longer presents any difficulty. 
A nation lives so long as it preserves the ethnical 
principle to which it owes its existence ; with this 
principle, it loses the primum mobile of its successes, 
its glory, and its civilization: it must therefore dis- 
appear from the stage of history. Who can doubt 
that if Alexander had been opposed by real Per- 
sians, the men of the Arian stock, whom Cyrus led 
to victory, the issue of the battle of Arbela would 
have been very different. Or if Eome, in her deca- 
dence, had possessed soldiers and senators like those 
of the time of Fabius, Scipio, and Cato, would she 
have fallen so easy a prey to the barbarians of the 
North ? 

It will be objected that, even had the integrity 
of the original blood remained intact, a time must 
have come when they would find their masters. 
They would have succumbed under a series of 


well-combined attacks, a lon2:-conti nued over- 
■whelming pressure, or simply by the chances of a 
lost battle. The political edifice might have been 
destroyed in this manner, not the civilization, 
not the social organization. Invasion and defeat 
would have been reverses, sad ones, indeed, but 
not irremediable. There is no want of facts to 
confirm this assertion. 

In modern times, the Chinese have suffered two 
complete conquests. In each case they have im- 
posed their manners and their institutions upon 
the conquerors ; they have given them much, and 
received but little in return. The first invaders, 
after having undergone this change, were expelled ; 
the same fate is now threatening the second.^ In 

I The recent insurrection in China has given rise to a great 
deal of speculation, and Tarious are the opinions that have 
been formed respecting it. But it is now pretty generally 
conceded that it is a great national movement, and, therefore, 
must ultimately be successful. The history of this insurrection, 
by Mr. Callery and Dr. Ivan (one the interpreter, and the other 
the physician of the French embassy in China, and both well 
known and reliable authorities) leaves no doubt upon the sub- 
ject. One of the most significant signs in this movement is 
the cutting off the tails, and letting the hair grow, which is 
being practised, says Dr. Ivan, in all the great cities, and in the 
very teeth of the mandarins. [Ins. in China, p. 243.) Let not 
the reader smile at this seemingly puerile demonstration, or 


this case tlie vanqnislied were intellectually and 
numerically superior to tlieir victors. I shall men- 

uaderrate its importance. Apparently trivial occurrences are 
often tlie harbingers of the most important events. Were I to 
see in the streets of Berlin or Vienna, men with long beards 
or hats of a certain shape, I should know that serious troubles 
are to be expected ; and in proportion to the number of such 
men, I should consider the catastrophe more or less near at 
hand, and the monarch's crown in danger. When the Lombard 
stops smoking in the streets, he meditates a revolution ; and 
France is comparatively safe, even though every street in Paris 
is barricaded, and blood flows in torrents ; but when bands march 
through the streets singing the ga ira, we know that to-morrow 
the Red Republic will be proclaimed. All these are silent, but 
expressive demonstrations of the prevalence of a certain princi- 
ple among the masses. Such a one is the cutting off of the tail 
among the Chinese. Nor is this a mere emblem. The shaved 
crown and the tail are the brands of conquest, a mark of degrada- 
tion imposed by the Mantchoos on the subjugated race. The 
Chinese have never abandoned the hope of one day expelling 
their conquerors, as they did already once before. "Ever since 
the fall of the Mings," says Dr. Ivan, " and the accession of the 
Mantchoo dynasty, clandestine associations — these intellectual 
laboratories of declining states — have been incessantly in ope- 
ration. The most celebrated of these secret societies, that of 
the Triad, or the three principles, commands so extensive and 
powerful an organization, that its members may be found through- 
out China, and wherever the Chinese emigrate ; so that there is 
no great exaggeration in the Chinese saying : "When three of us 
are together, the Triad is among us." [Hist, of the Insur. in Ck., 
p. 112.) Again, the writer says: " The revolutionary impetus 


tion anotlier case wTiere the victors, tliono-'h intel- 
lectually superior, are not possessed of sufficient 
numerical strens^tli to transform tlie intellectual 
and moral character of the vanquished. 

The political supremacy of the British in Hin- 
dostan is perfect, yet they exert little or no mo- 
ral influence over the masses they govern. All 
that the utmost exertion of their power can effect 
upon the fears of their subjects, is an outward 
compliance. The notions of the Hindoo cannot 
be replaced by European ideas — the spirit of 
Hindoo civilization cannot be conquered by any 
power, however great, of the law. Political forms 
may change, and do change, without materially 
affecting the basis upon which they rest ; Hyder- 
abad, Lahore, and Delhi may cease to be capitals : 
Hindoo society will subsist, nevertheless. A time 
must come, sooner or later, when India will regain 
a separate political existence, and publicly pro- 
is now so sti'ong, the affairs of the pretender or chief of the in- 
surrection in so prosperous a condition, that the success of Iiis 
cause has nothing to fear from the loss of a battle. It would 
require a series of unprecedented reverses to ruin his hopes" 
(p. 243 and 245). 

I have written this somewhat lengthy note to show that Mr. 
Gobineau makes no rash assertion, when he says that the Man- 
tchoos are about to experience the same fate as their Tartar 
predecessors. — H. 


claim those laws of lier own, wliicli sTie now 
secretly obeys, or of wliicli slie is tacitly left in 

The mere accident of conquest cannot destroy 
the principle of vitality in a people. At most, it 
may suspend for a time the exterior manifestations 
of that vitality, and strip it of its outward honors. 
But so long as the blood, and consequently the 
culture of a nation, exhibit sufficiently strong 
traces of the initiatory race, that nation exists ; 
and whether it has to deal, like the Chinese, with 
conquerors who are superior only materially ; or 
whether, like the Hindoos, it maintains a struggle 
of patience against a race much superior in every 
respect; that nation may rest assured of its future 
— independence will dawn for it one day. On the 
contrary, when a nation has completely exhausted 
the initiatory ethnical element, defeat is certain 
death ; it has consumed the term of existence 
which Heaven had granted it — its destiny is 

1 The author might have mentioned Russia in illustration of 
his position. The star of no nation that we are acquainted with 
has suffered an eclipse so total and so protracted, nor re-appear- 
ed with so much brilliancy. Russia, whose history so many 
believe to date from the time of Peter the Great only, was one 
of the earliest actors on the stage of modern history. Its peo- 


I, therefore, consider tlie question as settled, 
which has been so often discussed, as to what 

pie had adopted Christianity ■when our forefathers were yet 
heathens; its princes formed matrimonial alliances with the 
monarchs of Byzantine Rome, while Charlemagne was driving 
the reluctant Saxon barbarians by thousands into rivers to be 
baptized en masse. Russia had magnificent cities before Paris 
was more than a collection of hovels on a small island of the 
Seine. Its monarchs actually contemplated, and not without 
well-founded hopes, the conquest of Constantinople, while the 
Norman barges were devastating the coasts and river-shores of 
Western Europe. Nay, to that far-oflf, almost polar region, the 
enterprise of the inhabitants had attracted the genius of com- 
merce and its attendants, prosperity and abundance. One of 
the greatest commercial cities of the first centuries after Christ, 
one of the first of the Hanse-Towns, was the great city of Novo- 
gorod, the capital of a republic that furnished three hundred 
thousand fighting men. But the east of Europe was not des- 
tined to outstrip the west in the great race of progress. The 
millions of Tartars, that, locust-like — but more formidable — 
marked their progress by hopeless devastation, had converted 
the greater portion of Asia into a desert, and now sought a new 
field for their savage exploits. Russia stood the first brunt, and 
its conquest exhausted the strength of the ruthless foe, and 
saved Western Europe from overwhelming ruin. In the begin- 
ning of the thirteenth century, five hundred thousand Tartar 
horsemen crossed the Ural Mountains. Slow, but gradual, was 
their progress. The Prussian armies were trampled down by 
this countless cavalry. But the resistance must have been a 
brave and vigorous one, for few of the invaders lived long enough 
to see the conquest. Not until after a desperate struggle of 


would have been the result, if the Carthaginians, 
instead of succumbing to the fortune of Eome, 

fifty years, did Kussia acknowledge a Tartar master. Nor 
wex'e the conquerors even then allowed to enjoy their prize in 
peace. For two centuries more, the Russians never remitted 
their efforts to regain their independence. Each generation 
transmitted to its posterity the remembrance of that precious 
treasure, and the care of reconquering it. Nor were their efforts 
unsuccessful. Year after year the Tartars saw the prize gliding 
from their grasp, and towards the end of the fifteenth century, 
we find them driven to the banks of the Volga, and the coasts of 
the Black Sea. Russia now began to breathe again. But, 
lo ! during the long struggle, Pole and Swede had vied with the 
Tartar in stripping her of her fairest domains. Her territory 
extended scarce two hundred miles, in any direction from Mos- 
cow. Her very name was unknown. AVestern Eui'ope had for- 
gotten her. The same causes that established the feudal system 
there, had, in the course of two centuries and a half, changed 
a nation of freemen into a nation of serfs. The arts of peace 
were lost, the military element had gained an undue preponder- 
ance, and a band of soldiers, like the Pretorian Guards of Rome, 
made and deposed sovereigns, and shook the state to its very 
foundations. Yet here and there a vigorous monarch appeared, 
■who controlled the fierce element, and directed it to the weal of 
the state. Smolensk, the fairest portion of the ancient Russian 
domain, was re-conquered from the Pole. The Swede, also, was 
forced to disgorge a portion of his spoils. But it was reserved 
for Peter the Great and his successors to restore to Russia the 
rank she had once held, and to which she was entitled. 

I will not further trespass on the patience of the reader, now 
that we have arrived at that portion of Russian history which 



had conquered Italy. As tliey belonged to the 
Phenician family, a stock greatly inferior to the 
Italian in political capacity, they would have been 
absorbed by the superior race after the victory, 
precisely as they were after the defeat. The final 
result, therefore, would have been the same in 
either case. 

The destiny of civilizations is not ruled by 
accident ; it depends not on the issue of a battle, 

many think the first. I would merely observe that not only 
did Peter add to his empire no territory that had not for- 
merly belonged to it, but even Catharine, at the first parti- 
tion of Poland (I speak not of the subsequent ones), merely 
re-united to her dominion Tyhat once were integral portions. 
The rapid growth of Russia, since she has reassumed her sta- 
tion among the nations of the earth, is well known. Cities have 
sprung up in places where once the nomad had pitched his tent. 
A great capital, the handsomest in the world, has risen from the 
marsh, within one hundred and fifty years after the founder, 
whose name it perpetuates, had laid the first stone. Another 
has risen from the ashes, within less than a decade of years 
from the time when — a holocaust on the altar of patriotism — its 
flames announced to the world the vengeance of a nation on an 
intemperate aggressor. 

Truly, it seems to me, that Mr. Gobineau could not have 
chosen a better illustration of his position, that the mere acci- 
dent of conquest can not annihilate a nation, than this great 
empire, in whose history conquest forms so terrible and so long 
an episode, that the portion anterior to it is almost forgotten to 
this day. — H. 


a thrust of a sword, the favors or frowns of fickle 
fortune. The most warlike, formidable, and tri- 
umphant nations, when they were distinguished 
for nothing but bravery, strategical science, and 
military successes, have never had a nobler fate 
than that of learning from their subjects, perhaps 
too late, the art of living in peace. The Celts, 
the nomad hordes of Central Asia, are memoi^able 
illustrations of this truth. 

The whole of my demonstration now rests upon 
one hypothesis, the proof of which I have re- 
served for the succeeding chapters : the moral 





Antipathy of races — Results of their mixture — The scientific 
axiom of the absolute equality of men, but an extension of 
the political — Its fallacy — Universal belief in unequal endow- 
ment of races — The moral and intellectual diversity of races 
not attributable to institutions — Indigenous institutions are 
the expression of popular sentiments ; Trhen foreign and 
imported, they never prosper — Illustrations: England and 
France — Roman Empire — European Colonies — Sandwich 
Islands — St. Domingo — Jesuit missions in Paraguay. 

The idea of an innate and permanent difference 
in tlie moral and mental endowments of tlie va- 
rious groups of tlie human species, is one of tlie 
most ancient, as well as universally adopted, opi- 
nions. Witli few exceptions, and these mostly in 
our own times, it has formed the basis of almost 
all political theories, and has been the fundamental 
maxim of government of every nation, great or 
small. The prejudices of country have no other 
cause; each nation believes in its own superiority 


over its neigiibors, and very often different parts 
of the same nation regard each other with con- 
tempt. There seems to exist an instinctive anti- 
pathy among the different races, and even among 
the subdivisions of the same race, of which none 
is entirely exempt, but which acts with the great- 
est force in the least civilized or least civilizable. 
We behold it in the characteristic suspiciousness 
and hostility of the savage ; in the isolation from 
foreign influence and intercourse of the Chinese 
and Japanese ; in the various distinctions founded 
upon birth in more civilized communities, such as 
castes, orders of nobility and aristocratic privi- 
leges.^ Not even a common religion can extin- 

' The author of Democracy in America (vol. ii. book 3, ch. 1), 
speculating upon the total want of sympathy among the various 
classes of an aristocratic community, says: "Each caste has 
its own opinions, feelings, rights, manners, and mode of living. 
The members of each caste do not resemble the rest of their 
fellow-citizens ; they do not think and feel in the same manner, 

and believe themselves a distinct race When the 

chroniclers of the Middle Ages, who all belonged to the aristo- 
cracy' by birth and education, relate the tragical end of a noble, 
their grief flows apace ; while they tell, with the utmost indif- 
ference, of massacres and tortures inflicted on the common peo- 
ple. In this they were actuated by an instinct rather than by a 
passion, for they felt no habitual hatred or systematic disdain 
for the people : war between the several classes of the commu- 
nity was not yet declared." The writer gives extracts from 



guisTi tlie hereditary aversion of tlie Arab^ to tlie 
Turk, of tlie Kurd to the Nestorian of Syria; or 
the bitter hostility of the Magyar and Sclave, who, 
without intermingling, have inhabited the same 

Mme. de Sevigne's letters, displaying, to use his own ■words, 
" a cruel jocularity -which, in our day, the harshest man writing 
to the most insensible person of his acquaintance would not 
venture to indulge in ; and yet Madame de Sevigne was not self- 
ish or cruel ; she was passionately attached to her children, and 
ever ready to sympathize with her friends, and she treated her 
servants and vassals with kindness and indulgence." " Whence 
does this arise ?" asks M. De Tocqueville ; " have we really more 
sensibility than our forefathers?" When it is recollected, as 
has been pointed out in a previous note, that the nobility of 
France were of Germanic, and the peasantry of Celtic origin, 
we will find in this an additional proof of the correctness of our 
author's theory. Thanks to the revolution, the barriers that 
separated the various ranks have been torn down, and continual 
intermixture has blended the blood of the Prankish noble and 
of the Gallic boor. Wherever this fusion has not yet taken 
place, or but imperfectly, M. De Tocqueville's remarks still 
apply.— H. 

I The spirit of clanship is so strong in the Arab tribes, and 
their instinct of ethnical isolation so powerful, that it often 
displays itself in a rather odd manner. A traveller (Mr. Ful- 
gence Fresnel, if I am not mistaken) relates that at Djidda, 
where morality is at a rather low ebb, the same Bedouine who 
cannot resist the slightest pecuniary temptation, would think 
herself forever dishonored, if she were joined in lawful wedlock 
to the Turk or European, to whose embrace she willingly yields 
while she despises him. 


country for centuries. But as tlie different types 
lose their purity and become blended, this hostility 
of race abates ; the maxim of absolute and perma- 
nent inequality is first discussed, then doubted. 
A man of mixed race or caste will not be apt to 
admit disparity in his double ancestry. The su- 
periority of particular types, and their consequent 
claims to dominion, find fewer advocates. This 
dominion is stigmatized as a tyrannical usurpation 
of power.'^ The mixture of castes gives rise to 
the political axiom that all men are equal, and, 
therefore, entitled to the same rights. Indeed, 
since there are no longer any distinct hereditary 
classes, none can justly claim superior merit and 
privileges. But this assertion, which is true only 
where a complete fusion has taken place, is applied 
to the whole human race — to all present, past, and 
future generations. The political axiom of equality 
which, like the bag of ^olus, contains so many 
tempests, is soon followed by the scientific. It is 

' The man 
Of virtuous soul commands not, nov obeys. 
Power, like a desolating pestilence, 
Pollutes whate'er it touches ; and obedience, 
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth. 
Makes slaves of man, and of the human frame 
A mechanized automaton. 

Shellet, Queen Mab. 


said — and tlie more heterogeneous the etlinical 
elements of a nation are, tlie more extensively the 
theory gains ground — that, " all branches of the 
human family are endowed with intellectual capa- 
cities of the same nature, which, thoug-h in differ- 
ent stages of development, are all equally sus- 
ceptible of improvement," This is not, perhaps, 
the precise language, but certainly the meaning. 
Thus, the Huron, by proper culture, might become 
the equal of the Englishman and Frenchman. 
Why, then, I would ask, did he never, in the 
course of centuries, invent the art of printing or 
apply the power of steam; why, among the war- 
riors of his tribe, has there never arisen a Cassar 
or a Charlemagne, among his bards and medicine- 
men, a Homer or a Hippocrates ? 

These questions are generally met by advancing 
the influence of climate, local circumstances, etc. 
An island, it is said, can never be the theatre of 
great social and political developments in the same 
measure as a continent ; the natives of a southern 
clime will not display the energy of those of the 
north ; seacoasts and large navigable rivers will 
promote a civilization which could never have 
flourished in an inland region ; — and a great deal 
more to the same purpose. But all these ingenious 
and plausible hypotheses are contradicted by facts. 


Tlie same soil and the same climate liaye been 
visited, alternately, by barbarism and civilization. 
Tlie degraded fellah is charred by the same snn 
which once bnrnt the powerful priest of Mem- 
phis; the learned professor of Berlin lectures 
under the same inclement sky that witnessed the 
miseries of the savage Finn. 

"What is most curious is, that while the belief of 
equality may influence institutions and manners, 
there is not a nation, nor an individual but renders 
homage to the contrary sentiment. Who has not 
heard of the distinctive traits of the Frenchman, 
the German, the Spaniard, the English, the Euss. 
One is called sprightly and volatile, but brave ; 
the other is sober and meditative; a third is noted 
for his gravity ; a fourth is known by his coldness 
and reserve, and his eagerness of gain ; a fifth, on 
the contrary, is notorious for reckless expense. I 
shall not express any opinion upon the accuracy 
of these distinctions, I merely point out that they 
are made dailj* and adopted by common consent. 
The same has been done in all ages. The Eoman 
of Italy distinguished the Eoman of Greece by 
the epithet GrceciduSj and attributed to him, as 
characteristic peculiarities, want of courage and 
boastful loquacity. He laughed at the colonist of 
Carthage, whom he pretended to recognize among 


thousands bj his litigious spirit and bad faith. 
The Alexandrians passed for wily, insolent, and 
seditious. Yet the doctrine of equality was as 
universally received among the Romans of that 
period as it is among ourselves. If, then, various 
nations display qualities so different; if some are 
eager for war and glory; others, lovers of their 
ease and comfort, it follows that their destinies 
must be very diverse. The strongest will act in 
the great tragedy of history the roles of kings and 
heroes, the weaker will be content with the hum- 
bler parts. 

I do not believe that the ingenuity of our times 
has succeeded in reconciling the universally adopt- 
ed belief in the special character of each nation 
with the no less general conviction that they are 
all equal. Yet this contradiction is very flagrant, 
the more so as its partisans are not behindhand in 
extolling the superiority of the Anglo-Saxons of 
North America over all the other nations of the 
same continent. It is true that tbey ascribe that 
superiority to the influence of political institutions. 
But they will hardly contest the characteristic 
aptitude of the countrymen of Penn and Washing- 
ton, to establish wherever they go liberal forms of 
governrnent, and their still more valuable ability 
to preserve them, when once established. Is not 


this a very liigli prerogative allotted to that branch 
of the human family ? the more precious, since so 
few of the groups that have ever inhabited the 
globe possessed it. 

I know that my opponents will not allow me an 
easy victory. They will object to me the immense 
potency of manners and institutions; they will 
show me how much the spirit of the government, 
by its inherent and irresistible force, influences the 
development of a nation ; how vastly different will 
be its progress when fostered by liberty or crushed 
by despotism. This argument, however, by no 
means invalidates my position. 

Political institutions can have but two origins : 
either they emanate from the people which is to be 
governed by them, or they are the invention of a 
foreign nation, by whom they are imposed, or from 
whom they are copied. 

In the former case, the institutions are neces- 
sarily moulded upon the instincts and wants of the 
people ; and if, through carelessness or ignorance, 
they are in aught incompatible with either, such 
defects will soon be removed or remedied. In 
every independent community the law may be said 
to emanate from the people; for though they have 
not apparently the power of promulgating it, it 
cannot be applicable to them unless it is consonant 


witli tlieir views and sentiments: it must be tlie 
reflex of tlie national cliaracter.^ Tlie wise law- 
giver, to wliose superior genius his countrymen 
seem solely indebted, has but given a voice to the 
wants and desires of all. The mere theorist, like 
Draco, finds his code a dead letter, and destined 
soon to give place to the institutions of the more 
judicious philosopher who would give to his com- 
patriots "not the best laws possible, but such 
only as they were capable of receiving." "When 
Charles I., guided by the fatal counsels of the Earl 
of Strafford, attempted to curb the English nation 
under the yoke of absolutism, king and minister 
were treading the bloody quagmire of theories. 
But when Ferdinand the Catholic ordered those 
terrible, but, in the then condition of the nation, 
politically necessary persecutions of the Spanish 
Moors, or when ISTapoleon re-established religion 
and authority in France, and flattered the military 
spirit of the nation — both these potentates had 
rightly understood the genius of their subjects, 
and were building upon a solid and practical 

' Montesquieu expresses a similar idea, in his usual epigram- 
matic style. "The customs of an enslaved people," says he, 
"are a part of their servitude; those of a free people, a part 
of their liberty." — Esprit des Lois, b. xix. c. 27.— H. 


False institutions, often beautiful on paper, are 
those wliich are not conformed to the national 
virtues or failings^ and consequently unsuitable 
to the country, though perhaps perfectly practi- 
cable and highly useful in a neighboring state. 
Such institutions, were they borrowed from the 
legislation of the angels, will produce nothing but 
discord and anarchy. Others, on the contrary, 
which the theorist will eschew, and the moralist 
blame in many points, or perhaps throughout, may 
be the best adapted to the community. Lycurgus 
was no theorist ; his laws were in strict accordance 
with the spirit and manners of his countrymen.^ 
The Dorians of Sparta were few in number, va- 
liant, and rapacious ; false institutions would have 
made them but petty villains — Lycurgus changed 
them into heroic brigands.^ 

The influence of laws and political institutions 
is certainly very great ; they preserve and invigor- 
ate the genius of a nation, define its objects, and 
help to attain them ; but though they may develop 

' " A great portion of the peculiarities of the Spartan con- 
stitution and their institutions was assuredly of ancient Doric 
origin, and must have been rather given up by the other Do- 
rians, than newly invented and instituted by the Spartans." — 
Niebuhr's Ancient Uisiory, vol. i. p. 306. — H. 

^ Sec note on page 121. 



powers, they cannot create tlaem where they do not 
already exist. They first receive their imprint 
from the nation, and then return and confirm it. 
In other words, it is the nation that fashions the 
laws, before the laws, in turn, can fashion the nation. 
Another proof of this fact are the changes and modi- 
fications which they undergo in the course of time. 

I have already said above, that in proportion as 
nations advance in civilization, and extend their 
territory and power, their ethnical character, and, 
with it, their instincts, undergo a gradual altera- 
tion. New manners and new tendencies prevail, 
and soon give rise to a series of modifications, the 
more frequent and radical as the influx of blood 
becomes greater and the fusion more complete. 

England, where the ethnical changes have been 
slower and less considerable than in any other Eu- 
ropean country, preserves to this day the basis of 
the social system of the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries. The municipal organization of the times 
of the Plantagenets and the Tudors flourishes in 
almost all its ancient vigor. There is the same 
participation of the nobility in the government, 
and the same manner of composing that nobility ; 
the same respect for ancient families, united to an 
appreciation of those whose merits raise them 
above their class. Since the accession of James I., 


and still more since the union, in Queen Anne's 
reign, there has indeed been an influx of Scotch 
and Irish blood ; foreign nations have also, though 
imperceptibly, furnished their contingent to the 
mixture; alterations have consequently become 
more frequent of late, but without, as yet, touch- 
ing the original spirit of the constitution. 

In France, the ethnical elements are much more 
numerous, and their mixtures more varied; and 
there it has repeatedly happened that the principal 
power of the state passed suddenly from the hands 
of one race to those of another. Changes, rather 
than modifications, have therefore taken place in 
the social and political system; and the changes 
were abrupt or radical, in proportion as these races 
were more or less dissimilar. So long as the north 
of France, where the Germanic element prevailed, 
preponderated in the policy of the country, the 
fabric of feudalism, or rather its inform remains, 
maintained their ground. After the expulsion of 
the English in the fifteenth century, the provinces 
of the centre took the lead. Their efforts, under 
the guidance of Charles YII., had recently restored 
the national independence, and the Gallo-Eoman 
blood naturally predominated in camp and coun- 
cil. From this time dates the introduction of the 
taste for military life and foreign conquests, pecu- 


liar to tlie Celtic race, and the tendency to con- 
centrate and consolidate the sovereign anthoritj, 
wliicli characterized the Eoman. The road being 
thus prepared, the next step towards the establish- 
ment of absolute power was made at the end of 
the sixteenth century, by the Aquitanian follow- 
ers of Henry lY., who had still more of the Eoman 
than of the Celtic blood in their veins. The cen- 
tralization of power, resulting from the ascendency 
of the southern populations, soon gave Paris an 
overweening preponderance, and finally made it, 
what it now is, the sovereign of the state. This 
great capital, this modern Babel, whose population 
is a motley compound of all the most varied ethni- 
cal elements, no longer had any motive to love or 
respect any tradition or peculiar tendency, and, 
coming to a complete rupture with the past, hur- 
ried France into a series of political and social 
experiments of doctrines the most remote from, 
and repulsive to, the ancient customs and tradi- 
tional tendencies of the realm. 

These examples seem to me sufficient to prove 
that political institutions, when not imposed by 
foreign influence, take their mould from the na- 
tional character, not only in the first place, but 
throughout all subsequent changes. Let us now 
examine the second case, when a foreign code is. 


nolens volens, forced upon a nation by a superior 

There are few instances of such attempts. In- 
deed, they were never made on a grand scale, by 
any truly sagacious governments of either ancient 
or modern times. The Eomans were too politic 
to indulge in such hazardous experiments. Alex- 
ander, before them, had never ventured it, and his 
successors, convinced, either by reason or instinct, of 
the futility of such efforts, had been contented to 
reign, like the conqueror of Darius, over a vast 
mosaic of nations, each of which retained its own 
habits, manners, laws, and administrative forms, 
and, at least so long as it preserved its ethnical 
identity, resembled its fellow-subjects in nothing 
but submission to the same fiscal and military 

There were, it is true, among the nations sub- 
dued by the Eomans, some whose codes contained 
practices so utterly repugnant to their masters, 
that the latter could not possibly have tolerated 
them. Such were the human sacrifices of the 
Druids, which were, indeed, visited with the se- 
verest penalties. But the Romans, with all their 
power, never succeeded in completely extirpating 
this barbarous rite. In the Narbonnese, the vic- 
tory was easy, for the Gallic population had 


been almost completely replaced by Eoman colo- 
nists; but the more intact tribes of the interior 
provinces made an obstinate resistance; and, in 
the peninsula of Brittany, where, in the fourth cen- 
tury, a British colony re-imported the ancient in- 
stincts with the ancient blood, the population, in 
spite of the Eomans, continued, either from patriot- 
ism or veneration for their ancient traditions, to 
butcher fellow-beings on their altars, as often as 
they could elude the vigilance of their masters. 
All revolts began with the restoration of this 
fearful feature of the national creed, and even 
Christianity could not entirely efface its traces, 
until after protracted and strenuous efforts. As 
late as the seventeenth century, the shipwrecked 
were murdered, and wrecks plundered in all the 
maritime provinces where the Kimric blood had 
preserved itself unmixed. These barbarous cus- 
toms were in accordance with the manners of a 
race which, not being yet sufficiently admixed, 
still remained true to its irrepressible instincts. 

One characteristic of European civilization is 
its intolerance. Conscious of its pre-eminence, we 
are prone to deny the existence of any other, or, 
at least, to consider it as the standard of all. We 
look with supreme contempt upon all nations that 
are not within its pale, and when they fall under 
our influence, we attempt to convert them to our 


views and modes of tliinking. Institutions wliicli 
we know to be good and useful, but wbicb per- 
suasion fails to propagate among nations to whose 
instincts tbey are foreign, we force upon them by 
the power of our arms. Where are the results ? 
Since the sixteenth century, when the European 
spirit of discovery and conquest penetrated to the 
east, it does not seem to have operated the slight- 
est change in the manners and mode of existence 
of the populations which it subjected. 

I have already adduced the example of British 
India, All the other European possessions pre- 
sent the same spectacle. The aborigines of 
Java, though completely subjugated by the 
Dutch, have not yet made the first step towards 
embracing the manners of their conquerors. 
Java, at this day, preserves the social regulations 
of the time of its independence. In South Ame- 
rica, where Spain ruled with unrestrained power 
for centuries, what effect has it produced ? The 
ancient empires, it is true, are no longer ; their 
traces, even, are almost obliterated. But while 
the native has not risen to the level of his conque- 
ror, the latter has been degraded by the mixture 
of blood.^ In the North, a different method has 

' The amalgamation of races in South America must indeed 
be inconceivable. *' I find," says Alex, von Humboldt, in 1826, 


been pursued, but with results equally negative ; 
nay, in the eyes of pMlanttropy, more deplorable; 

" by seTeral statements, that if we estimate the population of 
the whole of the Spanish colonies at fonrteen or fifteen millions 
of sonls, there are, in that number, at most, three millions of 
pnre whites, incluiiing about 200,000 Europeans." [Pers. Xar., 
Tol. i. p. 400.) Of the progress which this mongrel population 
have made in civilization, I cannot give a better idea than by an 
extract from Dr. Tschudi's work, describing the mode of plough- 
ing in some parts of Chili. " K a field is to be tilled, it is done 
by two natives, who are furnished with long poles, pointed at 
one end. The one thrusts his pole, pretty deeply, and in an 
oblique direction, into the earth, so that it forms an angle with 
the surface of the ground. The other Indian sticks his pole in, 
at -a little distance, and also obliquely, and he forces it beneath 
that of his fellow-laborer, so that the first pole lies, as it were, 
upon the second. The first Indian then presses on his pole, and 
makes it work on the other, as a lever on its fulcrum, and the 
earth is thrown up by the point of the pole. Thus they gradu- 
ally advance, until the whole field is furrowed by this laborious 
process." {Dr. T-sckudi, Travels in Peru, during the years 1838- 
1842. London, 1847, p. 14.) I really do not thin k that a 
counterpart to this could be found, except, perhaps, in the 
manner of working the mines all over South America. Both 
Darwin and Tschudi speak of it with surprise. Every pound 
of ore is brought out of the shafts on men's shoulders. The 
mines are drained of the water accumulating in them, in the 
same manner, by means of water-tight bags. Dr. Tschudi de- 
scribes the process employed for the amalgamation of the quick- 
silver with the silver ore. It is done by causing them to be trod- 
den together by horses', or human feet. Not only is this method 


for, while the Spanish Indians have at least in- 
creased in numbers,' and even mixed with their 
masters, to the Red-Man of the North, the contact 
with the Anglo-Saxon race has been death. The 
feeble remnants of these wretched tribes are fast 
disappearing, and disappearing as uncivilized, as 
uncivilizable, as their ancestors. In Oceanica, the 
same observation holds good. The number of 
aborigines is daily diminishing. The European 
may disarm them, and prevent them from doing 
him injury, but change them he cannot. "Where- 
ever he is master, they no longer eat one another, 
but they fill themselves with firewater, and this 
novel species of brutishness is all they learn of 
European civilization. 

There are, indeed, two governments framed by 
nations of a different race, after our models : that 
of the Sandwich Islands, and that of St. Domingo, 
A glance at these two countries will complete the 

attended with incredible waste of material, and therefore very 
expensive, but it soon kills the horses employed in it, while the 
men contract the most fearful, and, generally, incurable diseases ! 
{Op. cit., p. 331-334.)— H. 

' A. Ton Humboldt, Examen critique de VHistoire et de la 
Geographie du N. C, vol. ii. p. 129-130. 

The same opinion is expressed by Mr. Humboldt in his Per- 
sonal Narrative. London, 1852, vol. i. p. 296. — H. 


proof of the futility of any attempts to give to a 
nation institutions not suggested by its own genius. 
In the Sandwicli Islands, the representative sys- 
tem shines with full lustre. We there find an Up- 
per House, a Lower House, a ministry who govern, 
and a king who reigns ; nothing is wanted. Yet 
all this is mere decoration ; the wheel-work that 
moves the whole machine, the indispensable motive 
power, is the corps of missionaries. To them alone 
belongs the honor of finding the ideas, of present- 
ing them, and carrying them through, either by 
their personal influence over their neophytes, or, 
if need be, by threats. It may be doubted, bow- 
ever, whether the missionaries, if they had no other 
instruments but the king and chambers, would not, 
after struggling for a while against the inaptitude 
of their pupils, find themselves compelled to take 
a more direct, and,- consequently, more apparenf 
part in the management of affairs. This difl&culty 
is obviated by the establishment of a ministry 
composed of Europeans, or half-bloods. Between 
them and the missionaries, all public affairs are 
prearranged ; the rest is only for show. King 
Kamehameha III. is, it seems, a man of ability. 
For his own account, he has abandoned tattooing, 
and although he has not yet succeeded in dissuad- 
ing all his courtiers from this agreeable practice, 


he enjoys the satisfaction of seeing their counte- 
nances adorned with comparatively slight designs. 
The mass of the nation, the country nobility and 
common people, persist upon this as all other 
points, in the ancient ideas and customs.^ Still, a 
variety of causes tend to daily increase the Euro- 
pean population of the Isles. The proximity of 
California makes them a point of great interest to 
the far-seeing energy of our nations. Eunaway 
sailors, and mutineers, are no longer the only 
white colonists ; merchants, speculators, adven- 
turers of all sorts, collect there in considerable 
numbers, build houses, and become permanent 
settlers. The native population is gradually be- 
coming absorbed in the mixture with the whites. 
It is highly probable that, ere long, the present 
representative form of government will be super- 
seded by an administration composed of delegates 
from one or all of the great maritime powers. 

* Speaking of the habit of tattooing among the South Sea Is- 
landers, Mr. Darwin says that even girls who had been brought 
up in missionaries' houses, could not be dissuaded from this 
practice, though in everything else, they seemed to have forgot- 
ten the savage instincts of their race. " The wives of the mis- 
sionaries tried to prevent them, but a famous operator having 
arrived from the South, they said : ' We really must have just 
a few lines on our lips, else, when we grow old, we shall be so 
ugly,' " — Journal of a Naturalist, vol. ii. p. 208. — H. 


Of one tiling I feel firmly convinced, that these 
imported institutions will take firm root in the 
country, but the day of their final triumph, by a 
necessary synchronism, will be that of the extinc- 
tion of the native race. 

In St. Domingo, national independence is intact. 
There are no missionaries exercising absolute, 
though concealed, control, no foreign ministry 
governing in the European spirit ; everything is 
left to the genius and inspiration of the population. 
In the Spanish part of the island, this population 
consists of mulattoes. I shall not speak of them. 
They seem to imitate, in some fashion, the simplest 
and easiest features of our civilization. Like all 
half-breeds, they have a tendency to assimilate 
with that branch of their genealogy which does 
them most honor. They are, therefore, capable 
of practising, in some degree, our usages. The 
absolute question of the capacity of races cannot be 
studied among them. Let us cross the mountain 
ridge which separates the republic of Dominica 
from the empire of Hayti. 

There we find institutions not only similar to 
ours, but founded upon the most recent maxims 
of our political wisdom. All that, since sixty 
years, the voice of the most refined liberalism has 
proclaimed in the deliberative assemblies of 


Europe, all tliat the most zealous friends of tlie 
freedom and dignity of man liave written, all the 
declarations of rights and principles, have found 
an echo on the banks of Artibonite. No trace of 
Africa remains in the loritten laws, or the ojfidal 
language ; the recollections of the land of Ham 
are officially expunged from every mind ; once 
more, the institutions are completely European. 
Let us now examine how they harmonize with the 

What a contrast ! The manners are as depraved, 
as beastly, as ferocious as in Dahomey^ or the coun- 
try of the Eellatahs. The same barbarous love of 
ornament, combined with the same indifference to 
form ; beauty consists in color, and provided a gar- 
ment is of gaudy red, and adorned with imitation 
gold, taste is little concerned with useless attention 
to materials or fitness; and as for cleanliness, this 
is a superfluity for which no one cares. You de- 
sire an audience with some high functionary : you 
are ushered into the presence of an athletic negro, 
stretched on a wooden bench, his head wrapped 
in a dirty, tattered handkerchief, and surmounted 
by a three-cornered hat, profusely decorated with 

' For the latest details, see Mr. Gustave d'Alaux's articles in 
the Revue des Deux Mondes, 1853. 



gold. Tlie general apparel consists of an embroi- 
dered coat (without suitable nether-garments), a 
buge sword, and slippers. You converse witb this 
mass of flesb, and are anxious to discover wbat 
ideas can occupy a mind under so unpromising an 
exterior. You find an intellect of tbe lowest order 
combined witb tbe most savage pride, wbicb can 
be equalled only by as profound and incurable a 
laziness. If tbe individual before you opens bis 
moutb, be will retail all tbe backneyed common- 
places tbat tbe papers bave wearied you witb for 
tbe last balf century. Tbis barbarian knows tbem 
by beart ; be bas very different interests, different 
instincts ; be bas no ideas of bis own. He will 
talk like Baron Holbacb, reason like Grimm, and 
at tbe bottom bas no serious care except cbewing 
tobacco, drinking spirits, butcbering bis enemies, 
and propitiating bis sorcerers. Tba rest of tbe 
time be sleeps. 

Tbe state is divided into two factions, not sepa- 
rated by incompatibility of politics, but of color — 
tbe negroes and tbe mulattoes. Tbe latter, doubt- 
less, are superior in intelligence, as I bave already 
remarked witb regard to tbe Dominicans. Tbe 
European blood bas modified tbe nature of tbe 
African, and in a community of wbites, witb good 
models constantly before tbeir eyes, tbese men 


miglit be converted into "useful members of so- 
ciety. But, unfortunately, tlie superiority of num- 
bers belongs at present to the negroes, and these, 
though removed from Africa by several genera- 
tions, are the same as in their native clime. Their 
supreme felicity is idleness ; their supreme reason, 
murder. Among the two divisions of the island 
the most intense hatred has always prevailed. The 
history of independent Hayti is nothing but a long 
series of massacres : massacres of mulattoes by the 
negroes, when the latter were strongest ; of the 
negroes by the mulattoes, when the power was in 
their hands. The institutions, with all their boasted 
liberality and philanthropy, are of no use what- 
ever. They sleep undisturbedly and impotently 
upon the paper on which they Avere written, and 
the savage instincts of the population reign su- 
preme. Conformably to the law of nature which 
I pointed out before, the negro, who belongs to a 
race exhibiting little aptitude for civilization, en- 
tertains the most profound horror for all other 
races. Thus we see the Haytien negroes ener- 
getically repel the white man from their territory, 
and forbid him even to enter it ; they would also 
drive out the mulattoes, and contemplate their 
ultimate extermination. Hostility to the foreigner 
is \hQjprimum mobile of their local policy. Owing 


to the innate laziness of the race, agriculture is 
abandoned, industry not known even by name, 
commerce drivelling ; misery prevents the increase 
of the population, while continual wars, insurrec- 
tions, and military executions diminish it con- 
tinually. The inevitable and not very remote 
consequence of such a condition of things is to 
convert into a desert a country whose fertility and 
natural resources enriched generations of planters, 
which in exports and commercial activity sur- 
passed even Cuba.' 

' The subjoined comparison of the exports of Haytien staple 
products may not be uninteresting to many of our readers, 
while it serves to confirm the author's assertion. I extract it 
from a statistical table in Mackenzie's report to the British 
government, upon the condition of the then republic (now 
empire). Mr. Mackenzie resided there as special envoy e several 
years, for the purpose of collecting authentic information for 
his government, and his statements may therefore be relied 
upon. {Notes on Eayii, vol. ii. note' FF. London, 1830.) 







1789 . 

. 141,089,831 



1826 . 




It will be perceived, from these figures, that the decrease is 
greatest in that staple which requires the most laborious culti- 
vation. Thus, sugar requires almost unremitting toil ; coffee, 
comparatively little. All branches of industry have fearfully 
decreased; some of them have ceased entirely ; and the small and 


These examples of St. Domingo and tlie Sand- 
wicli Islands seem to me conclusive. I cannot, 
however, forbear, before definitely leaving the sub- 
ject, from mentioning another analogous fact, the 
peculiar character of which greatly confirms my 
position. I allude to the attempts of the Jesuit 
missionaries to civilize the natives of Paraguay.^ 

These missionaries, by their exalted intelligence 
and self-sacrificing courage, have excited universal 
admiration ; and the most decided enemies of 
their order have never refused them an unstinted 
tribute of praise. If foreign institutions have ever 
had the slightest chance of success with a nation, 
these assuredly had it, based as they were upon 

continually dwindling commerce of that wretched country con- 
sists now mainly of articles of spontaneous growth. The sta- 
tistics of imports are in perfect keeping with those of exports. 
(Op. cit., vol. ii. p. 183.) As might be expected from such a 
state of things, the annual expenditure in 1827 was estimated 
at a little more than double the amount of the annual revenue ! 
[Ibid., "Finance.") 

That matters have not improved under the administration of 
that Most Gracious, Most Christian monarch, the Emperor 
Faustin I., will be seen by reference to last year's Annuaire de 
la Revue des deux Mondes, "Haiti," p. 876, et seq., where some 
curious details about his majesty and his majesty's sable sub- 
jects will be found. 

1 Upon this subject, consult Prichard, d'Orbigny, and A. de 



the power of religious feelings, and supported and 
applied witli a tact as correct as it was refined. 
The fathers were of the pretty general opinion" 
that barbarism was to nations what childhood is 
to the individual, and that the more savage and 
untutored we find a people, the younger we may 
conclude them to be. To educate their neophytes 
to adolescence, they therefore treated them like 
children. Their government was as firm in its 
views and commands as it was mild and affection- 
ate in its forms. The aborigines of the American 
continent have generally a tendency to republic- 
anism ; a monarchy or aristocracy is rarely found 
among them, and then in a very restricted form. 
The Guaranis of Paraguay did not differ, in this 
respect, from their congeners. By a happy circum- 
stance, however, these tribes displayed rather more 
intelligence and less ferocity than their neighbors, 
and seemed capable, to some extent, of conceiving 
new wants and adopting new ideas. About one 
hundred and twenty thousand souls were collected 
in the villages of the missions, under the guidance 
of the fathers. All that experience, daily study, 
and active charity could teach the Jesuits, was 
employed for the benefit of their pupils ; incessant 
efforts were made to hasten success, without ha- 
zarding it by rashness. In spite of all these cares, 


however, it was soon felt that the most absolute 
authority over the neophytes could hardly con- 
strain them to persist in the right path, and occa- 
sions were not wanting that revealed the little real 
solidity of the edifice.^ 

"When the measures of Count Aranda deprived 
Paraguay of its pious and skilful civilizers, the 
sad truth appeared in complete light. The Gua- 
ranis, deprived of their spiritual guides, refused 
all confidence in the lay directors sent them by the 
Spanish crown. They showed no attachment to 
their new institutions. Their taste for savage life 
revived, and at present there are but thirty-seven 

^ I recollect having read, several years ago, in a Jesuit mis- 
sionary journal (I forget its name and date, but am confident 
that the authority is a reliable one), a rather ludicrous account 
of an instance of this kind. One of the fathers, who had a little 
isolated village under his charge, had occasion to leave his flock 
for a time, and his place, unfortunately, could not be replaced 
by another. He therefore called the most promising of his 
neophytes, and committed to their care the domestic animals 
and agricultural implements with which the society had pro- 
vided the newly- converted savages, then left them with many 
exhortations and instructions. His absence being prolonged 
beyond the period anticipated, the Indians thought him dead, 
and instituted a grand funeral feast in his honor, at which they 
slaughtered all the oxen, and roasted them by fires made of the 
ploughs, hoe-handles, etc. ; and he arrived just in time to wit- 
ness the closing scenes of this mourning ceremony. — H. 


little villages still vegetating on tlie banks of tlie 
Parana, the Paraguay, and Uraguay, and these 
contain a considerable nucleus of half-breed popu- 
lation. The rest have returned to the forest, and 
live there in as savage a state as the western tribes 
of the same stock, the Gruaranis and Cirionos. I 
will not say that the deserters have readopted 
their ancient manners completely, but there is little 
trace left of the pious missionaries' labors, and 
this because it is given to no human race to be 
oblivious of its instincts, nor to abandon the path 
in which the Creator has placed them. 

It may be supposed, had the Jesuits continued to 
direct their missions in Paraguay, that their efforts, 
assisted by time, would have been crowned with 
better success, I am willing to concede this, but 
on one condition only, always the same: that a 
group of Europeans would gradually have settled 
in the country under the protection of the Jesuit 
directors. These would have modified, and finally 
completely transformed the native blood, and a 
state would have been formed, bearing probably 
an aboriginal name, whose inhabitants might have 
prided themselves upon descending from autoch- 
thonic ancestors, though as completely belonging 
to Europe as the institutions by which they might 
be governed. 





America— Ancient empires— Phenicians and Romans— Jews- 
Greece and Eome— Commercial cities of Europe— Isthmus of 

It is impossible to leave entirely out of tlie 
question the influence wliicli climate, tlie nature of 
tlie soil, and topographical circumstances, exert 
upon the development of nations. This influence, 
so much overrated by many of the learned, I shall 
investigate more fully, although I have rapidly 
glanced at it already, in another place. 

It is a very common opinion that a nation living 
under a temperate sky, not too warm to enervate 
the man, nor too cold to render the soil unproduc- 
tive ; on the shores of large rivers, affording ex- 
tensive and commodious means of communication; 
in plains and valleys adapted to varied cultiva- 
tion ; at the foot of mountains pregnant with the 


useful and precious ores — that a nation thus favor- 
ed by nature, would soon be prompted to cast off 
barbarism, and progress rapidly in civilization.^ 
On the other hand, and by the same reasoning, it 
is easily admitted that tribes, charred by an ardent 
sun, or benumbed by unceasing cold, and having 
no territory save sterile rocks, would be much 
more liable to remain in a state of barbarism. 
According to this hypothesis, the intellectual pow- 
ers of man could be developed only by the aid of 
external nature, and all his worth and greatness 
are not implanted in him, but in the objects with- 
out and around. Specious as is this opinion at 
first sight, it has against it all the numerous facts 
which observation furnishes. 

Nowhere, certainly, is there a greater variety of 
soil and climate than in the extensive Western Con- 
tinent. Nowhere are there more fertile regions, 
milder skies, larger and more numerous rivers. 
The coasts are indented with gulfs and bays ; deep 
and magnificent harbors abound ; the most valua- 
ble riches of the mineral kingdom crop out of the 
ground ; nature has lavished on the soil her 
choicest and most variegated vegetable produc- 

' Consult, among others, Carus : Ubcr migleiche Befdhigung der 
vershiedenen Menschen-stdmme fur hohere gcistige Entwickelung. 
Leipzig, 1849, p. 96 et passim. 


tions, and the woods and prairies swarm with, ali- 
mentary species of animals, presenting still more 
substantial resources. And yet, the greater part 
of these happy countries is inhabited, and has been 
for a series of centuries, by tribes who ignore the 
most mediocre exploration of all these treasures. 

Several of them seem to have been in the way 
of doing better. A meagre culture, a rude know- 
ledge of the art of working metals, may be ob- 
served in more than one place. Several useful 
arts, practised with some ingenuity, still surprise 
the traveller. But all this is really on a very 
humble scale, and never formed what might be 
termed a civilization. There certainly has existed 
at some very remote period, a nation which inha- 
bited the vast region extending from Lake Erie 
to the Mexican Gulf. There can be no doubt that 
the country lying between the Alleghany and the 
Rocky Mountains, and extending from Lake Erie 
to the Gulf of Mexico, was, at some very remote 
epoch, inhabited by a nation that has left remark- 
able traces of its existence behind.' The remains 

' Pricbard, Natural History of Man, vol. ii. 

See particularly the recent researches of E. G. Squier, pub- 
lished in 1847, under the title: Observations on the Aboriginal 
Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, and also in various late 
reviews and other periodicals. 


of buildings, inscriptions on rocks, the tumuli,^ 
and mummies wHch. they inclose, indicate a high, 
degree of intellectual culture. But there is no 
evidence that between this mysterious people and 
the tribes now wandering over its tombs, there is 

' The very singular construction of these tumuli, and the 
numerous utensils found in them, occupy at this moment the 
penetration and talent of American antiquaries. I shall have 
occasion, in a subsequent volume, to express an opinion as to 
their value in the inquiries about a former civilization; at 
present, I shall only say that their almost incredible antiquity 
cannot be called in question. Mr. Squier is right in consider- 
ing this proved by the fact merely, that the skeletons exhumed 
from these tumuli crumble into dust as soon as exposed to the 
atmosphere, although the condition of the soil in which they 
lie, is the most favorable possible ; while the human remains 
under the British cromlichs, and which have been interred for 
at least eighteen centuries, are perfectly solid. It is easily con- 
ceived, therefore, that between the fii'st possessors of the Ame- 
rican soil and the Lenni-Lenape and other tribes, there is no 
connection. Before concluding this note, I cannot refrain from 
praising the industry and skill manifested by American scholars 
in the study of the antiquities of their immense continent. To 
obviate the dif&culties arising from the excessive fragility of the 
exhumed skulls, many futile attempts were made, but the object 
was finally accomplished by pouring into them a bituminous 
preparation which instantly solidifies and thus preserves the 
osseous parts. This process, which requires many precautions, 
and as much skill as promptitude, is said to be generally suc- 


any very near aiSuity. However this may be, if by 
inheritance or slavish imitation the now existing 
aborigines derive their first knowledge of the arts 
which they now rudely practise, from the former 
masters of the soil, we cannot but be struck by 
their incapacity of perfecting what they had been 
tauffht; and I see in this a new motive for adher- 
ing to my opinion, that a nation placed amid the 
most favorable geographical circumstances, is not, 
therefore, destined to arrive at civilization. 

On the contrary, there is between the propi- 
tiousness of soil and climate and the establishment 
of civilization, a complete independence. India 
was a country which required fertilization ; so was 
Egypt.* Here we have two very celebrated cen- 
tres of human culture and development. China, 
though very productive in some parts, presented 
in others difficulties of a very serious character. 
The first events recorded in its history are strug- 
gles with rivers that had burst their bonds; its 
heroes are victors over the ruthless flood ; the an- 

1 Ancient India required, on the part of its first white colo- 
nists, immense labor of cultivation and improvement. (See 
Lassen, Indische Mierihumskunde, vol. i.) As to Egypt, see what 
Chevalier Bunsen, JEgypterCs Stelle in der Weltgeschkhte, saya 
of the fertilization of the Fayoum, that gigantic work of the 
earliest sovereigns. 



cient emperors distinguished themselves by exca- 
vating canals and draining marshes. The country 
of the Tigris and Euphrates, the theatre of Assy- 
rian splendor and hallowed by our most sacred 
traditions, those regions where, Syncellus says, 
wheat grew spontaneously, possess a soil so little 
productive, when unassisted by art, that only a 
vast and laborious system of irrigation can render 
it capable of giving the means of subsistence to 
its inhabitants. Now that the canals are filled up 
or obstructed, sterility has reassumed its former 
dominion. I am, therefore, inclined to think that 
nature had not so greatly favored these countries 
as is usually supposed. Yet, I shall not discuss 
this point. 

I am willing to admit that China, Egypt, India, 
and Mesopotamia were regions perfectly adapted 
in every respect to the establishment of great em- 
pires, and the consequent development of brilliant 
civilizations. But it cannot be disputed that these 
nations, to profit by these superior advantages, 
must have previously brought their social system 
to a high degree of perfection. Before the great 
watercourses became the highways of commerce, 
industry, or at least agriculture, must have flour- 
ished to some extent. The great advantages ac- 


corded to tliese countries presuppose, therefore, 
in tlie nations that have profited by them, a pecu- 
liar intellectual vocation, and even a certain ante- 
rior degree of civilization. But from these spe- 
cially favored regions let us glance elsewhere. 

"When the Phenicians migrated from the south- 
east, they fixed their abode on an arid, rocky 
coast, inclosed by steep and ragged mountains. 
Such a geographical situation would appear to 
preclude a people from any expansion, and force 
them to remain forever dependent on the produce 
of their fisheries for sustenance. The utmost that 
could be expected of them was to see them petty 
pirates. They were pirates, indeed, but on a mag- 
nificent scale ; and, what is more, they were bold 
and successful merchants and speculators. They 
planted colonies everywhere, while the barren 
rocks of the mother country were covered with the 
palaces and temples of a wealthy and luxurious 
community. Some will say, that "the very unpro- 
pitiousness of external circumstances forced the 
founders of Tyre and Sidon to become what they 
were. Necessity is the mother of invention ; their 
misery spurred them on to exertion ; had they in- 
habited the plains of Damascus, they would have 
been content with the peaceful products of agricul- 


ture, and would probably never tave become an 
illustrious nation."^ 

And wliy does not misery spur on otlier nations 
placed under similar circumstances ? The Kabyles 
of Morocco are an ancient race ; they have had 
sufficient time for reflection, and, moreover, every 
possible inducement for mere imitation ; yet they 
have never imagined any other method for alle- 
viating their wretched lot except petty piracy. The 
unparalleled facilities for commerce affi^rded by the 
Indian archipelago and the island clusters of the 
Pacific, have never been improved by the natives ; 
all the peaceful and profitable relations were left 
in the hands of foreign races — the Chinese, Malays, 
and Arabs; where commerce has fallen into the 
hands of a semi-indigenous or half-breed popula- 
tion, it has instantly commenced to languish. 
"What conclusions can we deduce from these ob- 
servations than that pressing wants are not suffi- 
cient for inciting a nation to profit by the natural 
facilities of its coasts and islands, and that some 
special aptitude is needed for establishing a com- 

1 "Why have accidental circumstances always prevented some 
from rising, while they have only stimulated others to higher 
attainments ?" — Dr. KneelancVs Introd. to Hamilton Smith's Nat. 
Hist, of Man, p. 95.— H. 


mercial state even in localities best adapted for 
that purpose. 

But I shall not content myself witli proving that 
the social and political aptitudes of races are not 
dependent on geographical situations, whether these 
be favorable or unfavorable ; I shall, moreover, 
endeavor to show that these aptitudes have no sort 
of relation with any exterior circumstances. The 
Armenians, in their almost inaccessible mountains, 
where so many other nations have vegetated in a 
state of barbarism from generation to generation, 
and without any access to the sea, attained, already 
at a remote period, a high state of civilization. The 
Jews found themselves in an analogous position ; 
they were surrounded by tribes who spoke kindred 
dialects, and who, for the most part, were nearly 
related to them in blood. Yet, they excelled all 
these groups. They were warriors, agriculturists, 
and merchants. Under a government in which 
theocracy, monarchy, patriarchal authority, and 
popular will, were singularly complicated and 
balanced, they traversed centuries of prosperity 
and glory. The difficulties which the narrow 
limits of their patrimonial domain opposed to 
their expansion, were overcome by an intelligent 
system of emigration. What was this famous 
Canaan ? Modern travellers bear witness to the 


laborious and well-directed efforts by wliicli the 
Jewish agriculturists maintained the factitious 
fertility of their soil. Since the chosen race no 
longer inhabits these mountains and plains, the 
wells where Jacob's flocks drank are dried up; 
Naboth's vineyard is invaded by the desert, 
Achab's palace-gardens filled with thistles. In 
this miserable corner of the world, what were the 
Jews ? A people dextrous in all they undertook, 
a free, powerful, intelligent people, who, before 
losing bravely, and against a much superior foe, 
the title of independent nation, had furnished to 
the world almost as many doctors as merchants.' 

Let us look at Greece. Arcadia was the para- 
dise of the shepherd, and Bceotia, the favored land 
of Ceres and Triptolemus : yet, Arcadia and Bceotia 
play but a very inferior part in history. The 
wealthy Corinth, the favorite of Plutus and Yenus, 
also appears in the second rank. To whom per- 
tains the glory of Grecian history? To Attica, 
whose whitish, sandy soil afforded a scanty suste- 
nance to puny olive-trees ; to Athens, whose prin- 
cipal commerce consisted in books and statues. 
Then to Sparta, shut up in a narrow valley between 
masses of rocks, where victory went in search of it. 

Who would dare to assert that Kome owed her 

' Salvador, Histoire des Juifs. 


universal empire to lier geographical position ? In 
tlie poor district of Latium, on the banks of a tiny 
stream emptying its waters on an almost unknown 
coast, where neither Greek nor Phenician vessel 
ever landed, except by accident, the future mis- 
tress of the world was born. So soon as the na- 
tions of the earth obeyed the Eoman standard, 
politicians found the metropolis ill-placed, and 
the eternal city was neglected: even abandoned. 
The first emperors, being chiefly occupied with the 
East, resided in Greece almost continually. Tibe- 
rius chose Caprea, in the centre of his empire. His 
successors went to Antioch . Several lived at Trebia. 
Finally, a decree deprived Eome of the very name 
of capital, and gave it to Milan. If the Eomans 
have conquered the world, it is certainly in spite 
of the locality whence issued forth their first armies, 
and not on account of its advantages. 

In modern history, the proofs of the correct- 
ness of my position are so abundant, that I 
hardly know how to select. I see prosperity 
abandoning the coasts of the Mediterranean, evi- 
dence that it was not dependent on them. The 
great commercial cities of the Middle Ages rise 
where no theorist of a preceding age could have 
predicted them. Novogorod flourishes in an almost 
arctic region, Bremen on a coast nearly as cold. 


The Hanse-towns of Germany rise in a country 
wliere civilization has scarcely dawned ; Yenice 
appears at the head of a long, narrow gulf. Po- 
litical preponderance belongs to places before un- 
known. Lyons, Toulouse, Narbonne, Marseilles, 
Bordeaux, lose the importance assigned them by 
the Eomans, and Paris becomes the metropolis — 
Paris, then a third-rate town, too far from the sea 
for commerce, too near it for the Norman barges. 
In Italy, cities formerly obscure, surpass the capi- 
tal of the popes. Eavenna rises in the midst of 
marshes ; Amalfi, for a long time, enjoys extensive 
dominion. It must be observed, that in all these 
changes accident has no part: they all are the 
result of the presence of a victorious and prepon- 
derating race. It is not the place which determines 
the importance of a nation, it is the nation which 
gives to the place its political and economical im- 

I do not, however, deny the importance of cer- 
tain situations for commercial depots, or for capi- 
tals. The observations made with regard to 
Alexandria and Constantinople, are incontestable.' 
There are, upon our globe, various points which 
may be called the keys of the world. Thus, it is 

1 M. Saint-Marc Girardin, Revue des Deux Mondes. 


obvious that a city, built on tbe proposed canal 
wliicli is to pierce the Istbrnus of Darien, wonld 
act an important part in the affairs of the world. 

But, such a part a nation may act well or badly, 
or even not at all, according to its merits. Aggran- 
dize Chagres, and let the two oceans unite under 
her walls, the destiny of the city would depend 
entirely on the race by which it was peopled. If 
this race be worthy of their good fortune, they will 
soon discover whether Chagres be the point whence 
the greatest benefits can be derived from the union 
of the two oceans ; and, if it is not, they will leave 
it, and then, untrammelled, develop elsewhere their 
brilliant destinies.^ 

' See, upon this often-debated subject, the opinion — somewhat 
acerbly expressed — of a learned historian and philologist: — 

" A great number of writers have suffered themselves to be 
persuaded that the country made the nation; that the Bavarians 
and Saxons were predestined, by the nature of their soil, to be- 
come what they are to-day ; that Protestantism belonged not to 
the regions of the south ; and that Catholicism could not pene- 
trate to those of the north ; and many similar things. Men 
who interpret history according to their own slender knowledge, 
their narrow hearts, and near-sighted minds, would, by the same 
reasoning, make us believe that the Jews had possessed such 
and such qualities— more or less clearly understood— because 
they inhabited Palestine, and not India or Greece. But, if these 
philosophers, so dextrous in proving whatever flatters their no- 
tions, were to reflect that the Holy Land contained, in its limited 


compass, peoples of the most dissimilar religions and modes of 
thinking, that between them, again, and their present successors, 
there is the utmost difference conceivable, although the country- 
is still the same ; they would understand how little influence, 
upon the character and civilization of a nation has the country 
they inhabit." — Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, Yol. i. p. 259. 




The term Christian civilization examined — Reasons for rejecting 
it — Intellectual diversity no hindrance to the universal diflFu- 
sion of Christianity — Civilizing influence of Christian religion 
by elevating and purifying the morals, etc. ; but does not 
remove intellectual disparities — Various instances — Chero- 
kees — Difference between imitation and comprehension of 
civilized life. 

By the foregoing observations, two facts seem 
to me clearly established: first, that there are 
branches of the human family incapable of spon- 
taneous civilization, so long as they remain un- 
mixed ; and, secondly, that this innate incapacity 
cannot be overcome by external agencies, however 
powerful in their nature. It now remains to speak 
of the civilizing influence of Christianity, a subject 
which, on account of its extensive bearing, I have 
reserved for the last, in my consideration of the 
instruments of civilization. 


The first question that suggests itself to tlie 
thiDking mind, is a startling one. If some races 
are so vastly inferior in all respects, can they com- 
prehend the truths of the gospel, or are they for- 
ever to be debarred from the blessing of salvation ? 

In answer, I unhesitatingly declare my firm 
conviction, that the pale of salvation is open to 
them all, and that all are endowed with equal 
capacity to enter it. Writers are not wanting 
who have asserted a contrary opinion. They dare 
to contradict the sacred promise of the Grospel, and 
deny the peculiar characteristic of our faith, which 
consists in its accessibility to all men. According 
to them, religions are confined within geographical 
limits which they cannot transgress. But the 
Christian religion knows no degrees of latitude or 
longitude. There is scarcely a nation, or a tribe, 
among whom it has not made converts. Statistics 
— imperfect, no doubt, but, as far as they go, reli- 
able — show them in great numbers in the remotest 
parts of the globe : nomad Mongols, in the steppes 
of Asia, savage hunters in the table-lauds of the 
Andes ; dark-hued natives of an African clime ; 
persecuted in China f- tortured in Madagascar ; 
perishing under the lash in Japan. 

' Although the success of the Chinese missions has not been 
proportionate to the self-devoting zeal of its laborers, there yet 


But tbis universal capacity of receiving tlie 
light of tlie gospel must not be confounded, as is 
so often done, with, a faculty of entirely different 
character, that of social improvement. This latter 
consists in being able to conceive new wants, 
which, being supplied, give rise to others, and 
gradually produce that perfection of the social and 
political system which we call civilization. While 
the former belongs equally to all races, whatever 
may be their disparity in other respects, the latter 
is of a purely intellectual character, and the pre- 
rogative of certain privileged groups, to the partial 
or even total exclusion of others. 

"With regard to Christianity, intellectual defi- 
ciencies cannot be a hindrance to a race. Our 
religion addresses itself to the lowly and simple, 
even in preference to the great and wise of this 
earth. Intellect and learning are not necessary 

are, in China, a vast number of believers in tbe true faith. M. 
Hue tells us, in the relation of his journey, that, in almost every 
place ■where he and his fellow-traveller stopped, they could per- 
ceive, among the crowds that came to stare at the two " Western 
devils" (as the celestials courteously call us Europeans), men 
making furtively, and sometimes quite openly, the sign of the 
cross. Among the nomadic hordes of the table-lands of Central 
Asia, the number of Christians is much greater than among the 
Chinese, and much greater than is generally supposed. (See 
Annals of the Propagation of the Faith, No. 135, et seq.) — H. 



to salvation. The most brilliant lights of our 
church were not always found among the body 
of the learned. The glorious martyrs, whom we 
venerate even above the skilful and erudite de- 
fender of the dogma, or the eloquent panegyrist of 
the faith, were men who sprang from the masses of 
the people; men, distinguished neither for worldly 
learning, nor brilliant talents, but for the simple 
virtues of their lives, their unwavering faith, their 
self-devotion. It is exactly in this that consists 
one great superiority of our religion over the 
most elaborate and ingenious systems devised by 
philosophers, that it is intelligible to the humblest 
capacity as well as to the highest. The poor 
Esquimaux of Labrador may be as good and as 
pure a Christian as the most learned prelate in 

But we now come to an error which, in its va- 
rious phases, has led to serious consequences. The 
utilitarian tendency of our age renders us prone 
to seek, even in things sacred, a character of ma- 
terial usefulness. We ascribe to the influence of 
Christianity a certain order of things, which we 
call Christian civilization. 

To what political or social condition this term 
can be fitly applied, I confess myself unable to 
conceive. There certainly is a Pagan, a Brahmin, 


and BuddHstic, a Judaic civilization. There liave 
been, and still are, societies so intimately connected 
witli a more or less exclusive theological formula, 
that the civilizations peculiar to them, can only be 
designated by the name of their creed. In such 
societies, religion is the sole source of all political 
forms, all civil and social legislation ; the ground- 
work of the whole civilization. This union of reli- 
gious andtemporalinstitutions, we find in the history 
of every nation of antiquity. Each country had its 
own peculiar divinity, which exercised a more or 
less direct influence in the government,^ and from 

' The tutelary diTinity was generally a typification of the 
national character. A commercial or maritime nation, would 
worship Mercury or Neptune ; an aggressive and warlike one, 
Hercules or Mars ; a pastoral one, Pan ; an agricultural one, Ceres 
or Triptolemus ; one sunk in luxury, as Corinth, would render 
almost exclusive homage to Venus. 

As the author observes, all ancient governments were more or 
less theocratical. The regulations of castes among the Hindoos 
and Egyptians were ascribed to the gods, and even the most 
absolute monarch dared not, and could not, transgress the limits 
which the immortals had set to his power. This so-called divine 
legislation often answered the same purpose as the charters of 
modern constitutional monarchies. The authority of the Per- 
sian kings was confined by religious regulations, and this has 
always been the case with the sultans of Turkey. Even in 
Rome, whose population had a greater tendency for the posi- 
tive and practical, than for the things of another world, we find 


wliicTi laws and civilization were said to be imme- 
diately derived. It was only wlien paganism began 
to wane, that the politicians of Eome imagined a 
separation of temporal and religious power, by 
attempting a fusion of tbe different forms of wor- 
sbip, and proclaiming tbe dogma of legal toleration. 
When paganism was in its youtb and vigor, eacli 
city bad its Jupiter, Mercury, or Venus, and the 
local deity recognized neither in this world nor 
the next any but compatriots. 

But, with Christianity, it is otherwise. It chooses 
no particular people, prescribes no form of govern- 
ment, no social system. It interferes not in tem- 
poral matters, has naught to do with the material 

the traces of theocratical government. The sibylline books, the 
augurs, etc., were something more than a vulgar superstition ; 
and the latter, who could stop or postpone the most important 
proceedings, by declaring the omens unpropitious, must have 
possessed very considerable political influence, especially in the 
earlier periods. The rude, liberty-loving tribes of Scandinavia, 
Germany, Gaul, and Britain, were likewise subjected to their 
druids, or other priests, vfithout whose permission they never 
undertook any important enterprise, whether public or private. 
Truly does our author observe, that Christianity came to deliver 
mankind from such trammels, though the mistaken or interested 
zeal of some of its servants, has so often attempted, and suc- 
cessfully, to fasten them again. How ill adapted Christianity 
would be, even in a political point of view, for a theocratical 
formula, is well shown by Mr. Guizot, in his Hist, of Civilizaiion, 
vol. i. p. 213.— H. 


world, " its kingdom is of another." Provided it 
succeeds in changing the interior man, external 
circumstances are of no import. If the convert 
fervently embraces the faith, and in all his actions 
tries to observe its prescriptions, it inquires not 
about the built of his dwelling, the cut of his 
garments, or the materials of which they are com- 
posed, his daily occupations, the regulations of his 
government, the degree of despotism, or of free- 
dom, which pervades his political institutions. It 
leaves the Chinese in his robes, the Esquimaux in 
his seal-skins ; the former to his rice, the latter to 
his fish-oil ; and who would dare to assert that the 
prayers of both may not breathe as pure a faith 
as those of the civilized European ? No mode of 
existence can attract its preference, none, however 
humble, its disdain. It attacks no form of govern- 
ment, no social institution; prescribes none, be- 
cause it has adopted none. It teaches not the art 
of promoting worldly comforts, it teaches to de- 
spise them. What, then, can we call a Christian 
civilization? Had Christ, or his disciples, pre- 
scribed, or even recommended any particular 
political or social forms,' the term would then be 

* I have already pointed out, in my introduction (p. 41-43), 
some of tlae fatal consequences that spring from that doctrine. 
It may not, however, be out of place here to mention another. 



applicable. But his law may be observed under 
all — of whatever nature — and is therefore supe- 
rior to them all. It is j astly and truly called the 
Catholic, or Universal. 

And has Christianity, then, no civilizing in- 
fluence ? I shall be asked. Undoubtedly ; and a 
very great one. Its precepts elevate and purify 
the soul, and, by their purely spiritual nature, dis- 
engage the mind from worldly things, and expand 
its powers. In a merely human point of view, 
the material benefits it- confers on its followers are 
inestimable. It softens the manners, and fecilitates 
the intercourse between man and his fellow-man ; 
it mitigates violence, and weans him from corro- 
sive vices. It is, therefore, a powerful promoter 
of his worldly interests. But it only expands the 
mind in proportion to the susceptibility of the 
mind for being expanded. It does not give intel- 

The communists, socialists, Fourrierites, or whateTcr names such 
enemies to our social system assume, have often seduced the 
unwary and weak-minded, by the plausible assertion that they 
wished to restore the social system of the first Christians, who 
held all goods in common, etc. Many religious sectaries have 
created serious disturbances under the same pretence. It seems, 
indeed, reasonable to suppose, that if Christianity had given its 
exclusive sanction to any particular social and political system, 
it must have been that which the first Christian communities 
adopted. — H. 


lect, or confer talents, thongli it may exalt both, 
and render them more useful. It does not create 
new capacities, though it fosters and develops 
those it finds. "Where the capacities of an indi- 
vidual, or a race, are such as to admit an im- 
provement in the mode of existence, it tends to 
produce it ; where such capacities are not already, 
it does not give them. As it belongs to no parti- 
cular civilization, it does not compel a nation to 
change its own. In fine, as it does not level all 
individuals to the same intellectual standard, so it 
does not raise all races to the same rank in the 
political assemblage of the nations of the earth. 
It is wrong, therefore, to consider the equal apti- 
tude of all races for the true religion, as a proof 
of their intellectual equality. Though having em- 
braced it, they will still display the same charac- 
teristic differences, and divergent or even opposite 
tendencies. A few examples will suf&ce to set my 
idea in a clearer light. 

The major portion of the Indian tribes of South 
America have, for centuries, been received within 
the pale of the church, yet the European civiliza- 
tion, with which they are in constant contact, has 
never become their own.* The Cherokees, in the 
northern part of the same continent, have nearly 

' See note on page 188. — H. 


all been converted by tbe Methodist missionaries. 
At this I am not surprised, but I should be greatly 
so, if these tribes, without mixing with the whites, 
were ever to form one of the States, and exercise 
any influence in Congress. The Moravians and 
Danish Lutheran missionaries in Labrador and 
Greenland, have opened the eyes of the Esqui- 
maux to the light of religion ; but their neophytes 
have remained in the same social condition in 
which they vegetated before. A still more forci- 
ble illustration is afforded by the Laplanders of 
Sweden, who have not emerged from the state of 
barbarism of their ancestors, though the doctrine 
of salvation was preached to them, and believed 
by them, centuries ago. 

I sincerely believe that all these peoples may 
produce, and, perhaps, already have produced, 
persons remarkable for piety and pure morals ; 
but I do not expect ever to see among them learned 
theologians, great statesmen, able military leaders, 
profound mathematicians, or distinguished artists; 
— any of those superior minds, whose number and 
perpetual succession are the cause of power in a 
preponderating race ; much less those rare geniuses 
whose meteor-like appearance is productive of 
permanent good only when their countrymen are 
so constituted as to be able to understand them, 


and to advance nnder fheir direction. We cannot, 
therefore, call Christianity a promoter of civiliza- 
tion in the narrow and purely material sense of 
some writers. 

Many of my readers, while admitting my obser- 
vations in the main to be correct, will object that 
the modifying influence of religion upon the man- 
ners must produce a corresponding modification 
of the institutions, and finally in the whole social 
system. The propagators of the gospel, they will 
say, are almost always — though not necessarily — 
from a nation superior in civilization to the one 
they visit. In their personal intercourse, there- 
fore, with their neophytes, the latter cannot but 
acquire new notions of material well-being. Even 
the political system may be greatly influenced by 
the relations between instructor and pupil. The 
missionary, while he provides for the spiritual 
welfare of his flock, will not either neglect their 
material wants. By his teaching and example, 
the savage will learn how to provide against 
famine, by tilling the soil. This improvement in 
his condition once effected, he will soon be led to 
build himself a better dwelling, and to practise 
some of the simpler useful arts. Gradually, and 
by careful training, he may acquire sufficient taste 
for things purely intellectual, to learn the alpha- 


bet, or even, as in the case of the Cherokees, to 
invent one himself. In course of time, if the 
missionaries' labors are crowned with success, they 
may, perhaps, so firmly implant their manners 
and mode of living among this formerly savage 
tribe, that the traveller will find among them well- 
cultivated fields, numerous flocks, and, like these 
same Cherokees, and the Creeks on the southern 
banks of the Arkansas, black slaves to work on 
their plantations. 

Let us see how far facts correspond with this 
plausible argument. I shall select the two nations 
which are cited as being the furthest advanced in 
European civilization, and their example will, it 
seems to me, demonstrate beyond a doubt, how 
impossible it is for any race to pursue a career in 
which their own nature has not placed them. 

The Cherokees and Creeks are said to be the 
remnants or descendants of the Alleghanian Eace, 
the supposed builders of those great monuments 
of which we still find traces in the Mississippi 
Valley. If this be the case, these two nations may 
lay claim to a natural superiority over the other 
tribes of North America. 

Deprived of their hereditary dominions by the 
American government, they were forced — under a 
treaty of transplantation — to emigrate to regions 


selected for them by the latter. There they were 
placed under the superintendence of the Minister 
of "War, and of Protestant missionaries, who finally 
succeeded in persuading them to embrace the mode 
of life they now lead. Mr. Prichard,' my authority 
for these facts, and who derives them himself from 
the great work of Mr, Gallatin,^ asserts that, while 
all the other Indian tribes are continually diminish- 
ing, these are steadily increasing in numbers. As 
a proof of this, he alleges that when Adair visited 
the Cherokee tribes, in 1762, the number of their 
warriors was estimated at 2,300 ; at present, their 
total population amounts to 15,000 souls, includ- 
ing about 1,200 negroes in their possession. When 
we consider that their schools, as well as churches, 
are directed by white missionaries ; that the greater 
number of these missionaries — being Protestants — 
are probably married and have children and ser- 
vants also Avhite, besides, very likely, a sort of 
retinue of clerks and other European employees ; — 
the increase of the aboriginal population becomes 
extremely doubtful,^ while it is easy to conceive the 

1 Natural History of Man, p. 390. London, 1843. 

2 Synopsis of the Lidian Tribes of North America. 

3 Had I desired to contest the accuracy of the assertions 
upon which Mr. Prichard bases his arguments in this case, I 
should have had in my favor the weighty authority of Mr. De 
Tocqueville, who, in speaking of the Chcrokees, says : " What 


pressure of tlie white race upon its pupils. Sur- 
rounded on all sides by the power of the United 
States, incommensurable to their imagination; 
converted to the religion of their masters, which 
they have, I think, sincerely embraced; treated 
kindly and judiciously by their spiritual guides ; 
and exposed to the alternation of working or of 
starving in their contracted territory ; — I can un- 
derstand that it was possible to make them tillers 
of the earth. 

It would be underrating the intelligence of the 
humblest, meanest specimen of our kind, to 
express surprise at such a result, when we see 
that, by dexterously and patiently acting upon 
the passions and wants of animals, we suc- 
ceed in teaching them what their own instincts 
would never have taught them. Every village 

has greatly promoted the introduction of European habits 
among these Indians, is the presence of so great a number of 
half-breeds. The man of mixed race — participating as he does, 
to a certain extent, in the enlightenment of the father, ■without, 
however, entirely abandoning the savage manner of the mother 
— forms the natural link between civilization and barbarism. 
As the half-breeds increase among them, we find savages modify 
their social condition, and change their manners." [Dem. in Am., 
vol. i. p. 412.) Mr. De Tocqueville ends by predicting that the 
Cherokees and Creeks, albeit they are half-breeds, and not, as 
Mr. Prichard affirms, pure aborigines, will, nevertheless, disap- 
pear before the encroachments of the whites. 


fair is filled with animals whicli are trained to 
perform the oddest tricks, and is it to be wondered 
at that men submitted to a rigorous system of 
training, and deprived of the means of escaping 
from it, should, in the end, be made to perform 
certain mechanical functions of civilized life ; 
functions which, even in the savage state, they are 
capable of understanding, though they have not 
the will to practise them ? This were placing 
human beino-s lower in the scale of creation than 


the learned pig, or Mr. Leonard's domino-playing 
dogs.^ Such exultation on the part of the believers 
in the equality of races is little flattering to those 
who excite it. 

I am aware that this exaggeration of the intel- 
lectual capacity of certain races is in a great 
measure provoked by the notions of some very 
learned and distinguished men, who pretend that 
between the lowest races of men, and the highest 
of apes there was but a shade of distinction. So 

• " When four pieces of cards were laid before them, each 
having a number pronounced once in connection -with it, they 
■will, after a re-arrangement of the pieces, select any one named 
by its number. They also play at domino, and with so much 
skill as to triumph over biped opponents, whining if the adver- 
sary plays a wrong piece, or if they themselves are deficient in 
the right one."— Fe^i!. of Cr., p. 236.— H. 



gross an ins alt to tlae dignity of man, I indignantly 
reject. Certainly, in my estimation, tlie different 
races are very nnequally endowed, both physically 
and mentally ; but I should be loath to think that 
in any, even in the most degraded, the unmis- 
takable line of demarcation between man and 
brute were effaced. I recognize no link of grada- 
tion which would connect man mentally with the 
brute creation. 

But does it follow, that because the lowest of 
the human species is still unmistakably human, that 
all of that species are capable of the same develop- 
ment? Take a Bushman, the most hideous and 
stupid of human families, and by careful training 
you may teach him, or if he is already adult, his 
son, to learn and practise a handicraft, even one 
that requires a certain degree of intelligence. But 
are v/e warranted thence to conclude that the na- 
tion to which this individual belongs, is susceptible 
of adopting our civilization? There is a vast 
difference between mechanically practising handi- 
crafts and arts, the products of an advanced civil- 
ization, and that civilization itself. Let us sup- 
pose that the Cherokee tribes were suddenly cut 
off from all connection with the American govern- 
ment, the traveller, a few years hence, would find 
among them very unexpected and singular insti- 


tutions, resulting ' from their mixture -vvitli the 
whites, but partaking only feebly of the character 
of European civilization. 

We often hear of negroes proficient in music, 
negroes who are clerks in counting-rooms, who 
can read, write, talk like the whites. We admire, 
and conclude that the negroes are capable of every- 
thing that whites are. ISTotwithstanding this ad- 
miration and these hasty conclusions, we express 
surprise at the contrast of Sclavonian civilization 
with ours. We aver that the Eussian, Polish, Ser- 
vish nations, are civilized only at the surface, that 
none but the higher classes are in possession of 
our ideas, and this, thanks to their intermixture 
with the English, French, and German stock; that 
the masses, on the contrary, evince a hopeless in- 
aptitude for participating in the forward movement 
of. Western Europe, although these masses have 
been Christians for centuries, many of them while 
our ancestors were heathens. Are the negroes, 
then, more closely allied to our race than the Scla- 
vonic nations ? On the one hand, we assert the 
intellectual equality of the white and black races ; 
on the other, a disparity among' subdivisions of 
our own race. 

There is a vast difference between imitation and 
comprehension. The imitation of a civilization does 


not necessarily imply an eradication of tlie heredi- 
tary instincts, A nation can be said to have adopted 
a civilization, only Vv'lien it has the power to progress 
in it nnprompted, and without guidance. Instead 
of extolling the intelligence of savages in handling 
a plough, after being shown ; in spelling and read- 
ing, after they have been taught ; let a single ex- 
ample be alleged of a tribe in any of the numerous 
countries in contact with Europeans, which, with 
our religion, has also made the ideas, institutions, 
and manners of a European nation so completely 
its own, that the whole social and political machi- 
nery moves forward as easily and naturally as in 
our States. Let an example be alleged of an extra- 
European nation, among whom the art of printing 
produces effects analogous to those it produces 
among us ; where new applications of our discove- 
ries are attempted ; where our systems of philoso- 
phy give birth to new systems ; where our arts 
and sciences flourish. 

But, no ; I will be more moderate in my demands. 
I shall not ask of that nation to adopt, together 
with our faith, all in which consists our indivi- 
duality. I shall suppose that it rejects it totally, 
and chooses one entirely different, adapted to its 
peculiar genius and circumstances. When the 
eyes of that nation open to the truths of the Gos- 
pel, it perceives that its earthly course is as encum- 


bered and wretclied as its spiritual life had hitherto 
been. It now begins the work of improvement, 
collects its ideas, which had hitherto remained 
fruitless, examines the notions of others, trans- 
forms them, and adapts them to its peculiar cir- 
cumstances; in fact, erects, by its own power, a 
social and political system, a civilization, however 
humble. AVhere is there such a nation ? The en- 
tire records of all history may be searched in vain 
for a single instance of a nation which, together 
with Christianity, adopted European civilization, 
or which — by the same grand change in its reli- 
gious ideas— was led to form a civilization of its 
own, if it did not possess one already before. 

On the contrary, I will show, in every part of 
the world, ethnical characteristics not in the least 
effaced by the adoption of Christianity. The 
Christian Mongol and Tartar tribes lead the 
same erratic life as their unconverted brethren, 
and are as distinct from the Russian of the same 
religion, who tills the soil, or plies his trade in 
their midst, as they were centuries ago. Nay, the 
very hostilities of race survive the adoption of a 
common religion, as we have already pointed out 
in a preceding chapter. The Christian religion, 
then, does not equalize the intellectual disparities 
of races. 





Rapid survey of the populations comprised under the appella- 
tion " Teutonic" — Their present ethnological area, and lead- 
ing characteristics — Fondness for the sea displayed by the 
Teutonic tribes of Northwestern Europe, and perceptible in 
their descendants. 

Several of the ideas expressed by the author in the 
course of the two next following chapters, seemed to 
the annotator of this volume to call for a few remarks 
on his part, which could not conveniently be condensed 
within the limited space of foot-notes. Besides, the 
text is already sufficiently encumbered with them, and 
any increase in their length or number could not but 
be displeasing to the eye, while it would divert atten- 
tion from the main subject. He has, therefore, taken 
the liberty — an unwarranted one, perhaps — of intro- 
ducing his remarks in this form and place. 

The leading proposition in this volume is, that the 
civilization originated and developed by a race, is the 
clearest index of its character — the mirror in which its 
principal features are truthfully reflected. In other 


words, that every race, capable of developing a civil- 
ization, will develop one peculiar to itself, and impos- 
sible to every other. This the author illustrates by the 
actual state of our civilization, which he asserts to be 
originated by the Teutonic race, but modified in pro- 
portion to the admixture of that race with a different 
blood. To clearly comprehend his idea, and to apprcr 
ciate the value of his arguments, it is, therefore, neces- 
sary for the reader to take a rapid survey of the popu- 
lations comprised under the appellation Teutonic, and 
to examine into the present geographical extension of 
that race. This I shall endeavor to do, not, indeed, by 
entering into an elaborate ethnological disquisition — a 
task greatly beyond my powers, and the due perform- 
ance of which would require a space much larger than 
the whole of this volume — but by merely grouping to- 
gether well-known facts, in such a manner as to set the 
author's idea in a clearer light. 

The words Teutonic and Germanic are generally 
used synonymously, and we shall not depart from this 
custom. Strict accuracy, however, would probably re- 
quire that the term Teutonic should be used as the 
general appellation of all those swarms of northern 
warriors, who, under various names, harassed and finally 
subverted the overgrown dominion of ancient Rome, 
while the term Germanic would apply to a portion of 
them only. The ISTorthern Barbarians, as the Romans 
contemptuously styled them, all claimed to belong to 
the '^ Thiudu,^'' or the nation par excellence, and from 
that word the term Teutonic is supposed to be derived. 
Many of their descendants still retain the name : Teutsch 
or Deutscli (German). The Romans called them Ger- 
manes,h'oxn the boastful title of "the warlike," or " the 


men of war," wMcli the first invading tribes had given 
themselves. These Germanes of the Romans were 
again divided into two classes, the Saxon tribes, and 
the Suevic ; terms expressive of their mode of life, the 
former having fixed habitations and inclosed farms, the 
latter cultivating the fields by turn, and being prone to 
change their abodes. The first class comprised many- 
other tribes besides those who figure in history, under 
the name of Saxons, as the invaders and conquerors of 
Britain. But as I desire to avoid all not well-authorized 
distinctions, I shall use the terms Teutonic and Ger- 
manic indiscriminately. 

The Germans appear to have been at all times an 
eminently warlike and courageous race. History first 
speaks of them as warriors alarming, nay, terrifying, 
the arrogant Romans, and that not in the infancy 
of Rome's power, when the Samnites and Yolscians 
were formidable antagonists, but in the very fulness of 
its strength, in the first vigor of youthful manhood, 
when Italy, Spain, part of Gaul, the northern coasts 
of Africa, Greece, Syria, and Asia Minor, were sub- 
dued to the republican yoke. Then it was that the 
Cimbri and Teutones invaded and harassed Italy, chil- 
ling the mistress of the world with fear. 

The Germans next meet us in Caesar's Commentaries. 
The principal resistance which the future usurper ex- 
perienced in subduing Gaul, appears to have been 
offered, not by the Gallic population, but either by 
German tribes, settled in that country, or German 
armies from the right banks of the Rhine, who longed 
to dispute the tempting prize with the Romans. The 
great general twice crossed the Rhine, but probably 
more for the 4clat of such an exploit, than with the hope 


of making permanent conquests. The temporary suc- 
cesses gained by his imperial successors were amply 
counterbalanced by the massacre of the flower of the 
Roman armies. 

At the end of the first five centuries after Christ, 
nothing was left of the great Roman empire but ruins. 
Every country in Northern, Western, and Southern 
Europe acknowledged German masters. The tribes of 
the extreme north had entered Russia, and there 
established a powerful republic ; the tribes of the north- 
west (the Angles and Saxons) had conquered Britain ; 
a confederation of the southern tribes, under the name 
of Franks, had conquered Gaul ; the various Gothic 
tribes of the east, the Heruli, the Longobardi, Ostro- 
goths, etc., had subjected Italy to their arms, and dis- 
puted its possession among themselves. Other Gothic 
tribes (the Yisigoths, Burgundians, and Yandals) had 
shared with the Franks the beautiful tracts of Gaul, 
or had carried their victorious arms to Spain, and the 
northern coasts of Africa. The three most beautiful and 
most fertile countries of Europe, to this day, retain the 
name of their conquerors — England, France, Lom- 

It is impossible now to determine with accuracy the 
amount of German blood in the populations of the 
various states founded by the Teutonic tribes. Yet 
certain general results are easily arrived at in this in- 
teresting investigation. 

Thus, we know that Germany, notwithstanding its 
name, contains by no means a pure Germanic popula- 
tion. The fierce Scythian hordes, whom Attila led onto 
the work of devastation, after the death of their leader, 
incorporated themselves with various of the Teutonic 


tribes. They form one of the ethnical elements of the 
population of Italy, but especially of the south and 
southeast of Germany. While, therefore, the popu- 
lation of jSTorthern Germany is comparatively pure 
Teutonic, that of the southern and eastern portion is a 
mixture of Teutonic and Sclavonian elements. 

The Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians, are probably 
the most Germanic nations of continental Europe. 

In Spain, the Yisigoths were, in a great measure, 
absorbed by the native population, consisting of the 
aboriginal Celtiberians and the numerous Roman colo- 
nists. In the tenth century, an amalgamation began 
with the eastern blood brought by the Arab con- 

Italy, already at the time of the downfall of Rome, 
contained an extremely mixed population, drawn thither 
by the all-absorbing vortex of the Eternal City. In 
the north, the Germanic element had time to engraft 
itself in some measure ; but the south, passing into the 
hands of the Byzantine emperors, received an addition 
of the already mixed Greek blood of the east. 

Gaul, at the time of the Frankish conquest, was an 
extremely populous country. Beside the aboriginal 
Gauls, the population consisted of numerous Roman 
colonists. The Mediterranean coast of Gaul had, from 
the earliest times, received Phenician, Carthaginian, 
and Greek settlers, who founded there large and pros- 
perous cities. The original differences in the population 
of Gaul are to this day perceptible. The Germanic 
element preponderates in the north, where already, 
in Caesar's time, the Germans had succeeded in making 
permanent settlements, and in the northeast, where 
the Burgundians had well-nigh extirpated and com- 


pletely supplanted the Gallic natives.* But everywhere 
else,^ the Germanic element forms but a small portion 
of the population, and this is well illustrated by the 
striking resemblance of the character of the modern 
French to that of the ancient Gauls. But though 
vastly inferior in numbers, the descendants of the Ger- 
man conquerors, for one thousand years, were the domi- 
nant race in France. Until the fifteenth century, all 
the higher nobility were of Frankish or Burgundian 
origin. But, after the Celtic and Celto-Roman pro- 
vinces south of the Loire had rallied around a youthful 
king, to reconquer their capital and best territories from 
the English foe, the Prankish blood ruled with less ex- 
clusive sway in all the higher offices of the state ; and 
the distinction was almost entirely lost by the accession 
of the first southern dynasty, that of the Bourbons, to- 
wards the end of the sixteenth century. The corre- 
sponding variations in the national policy and the 
exterior manifestations of the national character, Mr. 
Gobineau has rapidly pointed out elsewhere.^ 

While the population of France presents so great a 
mixture of various different races, and but a slight in- 
fusion of German blood, that of England, on the con- 
trary, is almost purely Teutonic. The original inhabit- 
ants of the country were, for the most part, driven into 
the mountain fastnesses of Wales by the German in- 
vaders, where they preserve, to this day, their original 

' In those portions of the present France, over one million 
and a half of the inhabitants speak German. The pure Gauls 
in the Landes have not yet learned the French language, and 
speak a peculiar — probabPy their origmal—rpalois. 

^ With the exception of Normandy. 

3 See p. 183. 


language. Every subsequent great addition to the 
population of England was by tbe German race. The 
Danes, and, after them, the Normans, were tribes of the 
same stock as the Saxons, and all came from very nearly 
the same portion of Europe. It is obvious, therefore, 
that England, even after the ISTorman conquest, when, 
for a time, the upper and the lower classes spoke differ- 
ent languages, contained a more homogeneous popula- 
tion than France did at the same, or any subsequent 
epoch. In England, from the Saxon yeoman up to the 
proudest Norman lord, all belonged to the great German 
race ; in France, only the nobility, while the peasants 
were Gauls. The wars between the two countries 
afford a striking proof of the difference of these two 
races. The battles of Cressy, of Poitiers, and of Agin- 
court, which will never be forgotten so long as English 
poetry can find an echo in an English breast, were won 
by the English against greatly superior numbers. "Vic- 
tories, indeed, they were," says Macaulay, " of which 
a nation may justly be proud ; for they are to be attri- 
buted to the moral superiority of the victors, a supe- 
riority which tvas most striking in the lowest ranks. The 
knights of England found worthy rivals in the knights 
of France. Chandos encountered an equal foe in Du 
Guesclin. But France had no infantry that dared to 
face the English bows and bills." The Celt has pro- 
bably, at no time, been inferior to the Teuton in valor ; 
in martial enthusiasm, he exceeds him. But, at a time 
when bodily strength decided the combat, the difference 
between the sturdy Saxon and the small, slight — though 
active — Gaul, must have been great. 

In this rapid and necessarily imperfect sketch, I have 
endeavored to show the relative proportion of the Ten- 


tonic blood in the population of the various countries 
of Europe. I have endeavored to direct the reader's 
attention to the fact, that though it forms an element 
in the population of all, it exists in perfect purity in 
but few, and that England presents a happy fusion of 
some of the most distinguished branches of the German 
family. If we now glance at the IJnited States, we shall 
there find — at least in the first years of her national 
existence — a pendant to what has been asserted of Eng- 
land. The elements of the population of the original 
thirteen States, were almost exclusively of English, 
Lowland Scotch, Dutch, and Swedish blood ; that is 
to say, decidedly Germanic. Ireland was as yet slightly 
represented. France had made but inconsiderable con- 
tributions to the population. Since we have assumed 
a rank among the great powers of the earth, every 
portion of the inhabited globe has sent us its contin- 
gent of blood, yet even now, the great body of the 
nation belongs to the Teutonic race. 

Much has been said of the effects of ethnical mixture. 
Many consider it as decidedly beneficial, others as 
decidedly deleterious. It seems to me susceptible of 
mathematical demonstration, that when a very inferior 
race amalgamates with one of higher order, the com- 
pound — though superior to the one, must be inferior to 
the other. In that case, therefore, mixture is injurious. 
But when various branches of the same race, or nearly 
cognate races mix, as in the case of the Saxons, Angles, 
Danes, and Normans, the mixture cannot but be bene- 
ficial. For, while none of the higher qualities are lost, 
the compound presents a felicitous combination of some 
of the virtues peculiar to each. 


If our civilization received its tone and character 
from the Teutonic race, as Mr. Grobineau asserts, this 
character must be most strikingly displayed wherever 
that race forms the preponderating element of the 

Before investigating this question, we must cast a 
glance on the manners and modes of thinking that 
characterized this race in the earliest times. Unfortu- 
nately, but few records are left to assist us in forming 
a judgment. Tacitus's celebrated treatise was, proba- 
bly, more an imaginary sketch, which he wished to hold 
up to a people sunk- in luxury and vice, as were his 
countrymen. In our times, the North American Indian 
has often been held up as a model of uncorrupted sim- 
plicity, and many touching romances have been written 
on the theme, now rather hackneyed and out of fashion. 
But though the noble Roman may have highly colored 
the picture, the incorruptible love of truth, Vk'hich 
shines so brilliantly in all his works, assures us of the 
truth of its outlines. 

Of one thing we can entertain no doubt, viz : that 
history nowhere shows us our Germanic forefathers in 
the same state of barbarism that we find other races — 
many of the American Indians, the South-Sea Island- 
ers, and others. In the earliest times they practised 
agriculture, they cultivated rye, barley, oats and wheat. 
Many of the tribes had regular farms, which were in- 
closed. They knew how to work iron, an art which 
even the most civilized of the American Indians had 
never learned. They had extensive and complicated 
political relations, often forming themselves in vast 
confederacies. But, above all, they were an eminently 


chaste people ; they respected woman,' and assigned to 
her her legitimate place in the social circle. Marriage 
with them was a sacred institution. 

The greatest point of superiority of our civilization, 
over all preceding and contemporaneous ones — a point 
which Mr. Gobineau has omitted to mention — is the 
high rank which woman occupies in the modern struc- 
ture of society. The boasted civilizations of Greece 
and Rome, if superior in others, are vastly inferior to 
us in this respect. And this glorious superiority we 
owe to the pure and chaste manners of our forefathers. 

Representative government, trial by jury, and all the 
discoveries in political science upon which we pride our- 
selves most, are the necessary development of their 
simple institutions, to which, indeed, they can be dis- 
tinctly traced. 

I have purposely selected these two characteristics 
of the German races — respect for woman, and love of 
liberty, or, what is more, a capacity for establishing 
and preserving liberal institutions. The question now 
resolves itself into this : Does woman occupy the high- 
est rank, do liberal institutions best flourish where the 
Germanic race is most pure ? I will not answer the 
question, but beg the reader to compare the more Ger- 
manic countries with those that are less so — England, 
Holland, Denmark, Sweden^ Norway, and ]S"orthern 
Germany, with France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Rus- 
sia ; the United States and Canada, with Mexico and 
the South American republics. 

' I am not aware that any writer has ever presumed to doubt 
this fact except Mr. Guizot, who dismisses it with a sneer. 
Fortunately, a sneer is not an argument, though it often has 
more weight. 


Mr. Gobiueau speaks of tlie utilitarian character of the 
Germanic races, but furnishes no proofs of his assertion. 
I shall therefore endeavor to supply the deficiency. 

Those countries which ethnology tells us contain the 
mOst Germanic populations, viz : England, the north- 
ern States of Europe, including Holland, and the United 
States, have the entire commerce, and nearly all the 
manufacture of the whole world in their hands. They 
have given to mankind all the great inventions which 
shed an everlasting lustre over our era. They, together, 
possess nine-tenths of all the railroads built in the world, 
and the greater part of the remaining tenth was built by 
their enterprise and capital. Whatever perfection in 
the useful arts one of these countries attains, is readily 
adopted by all ; slowly only, and sometimes never by any 
of the others. 

On the other hand, we find that the polite arts do 
not meet, in these countries, with a very congenial soil. 
Artists may flock thither, and, perhaps, reap a harvest 
of gold ; but they seldom stay. The admiration which 
they receive is oftenest the mere dictate of fashion. It 
is true that England, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, and 
the United States, have produced some eminent artists, 
but the mass of the population do not exhibit that in- 
nate taste, that passionate fondness for the arts, which 
we find among all classes in Italy, Spain, and to some 
extent in France and Southern Germany. 

Before I conclude this ha^ty sketch, for which I crave 
the reader's indulgence, I wish to draw attention to a 
striking instance of the permanency of ethnical charac- 
teristics. The nations that most fondly and most suc- 
cessfully plough the briny main, are the English, the 


Americans, the Swedes, Danes, Dutch. Notwithstand- 
ing the littleness of these latter, they have successfully 
competed in maritime discovery with larger nations ; 
and even now, own considerable and far distant colonial 
possessions. The Dutch, for a time, were the greatest 
maritime power in the world, and to this day carry on 
an extensive and profitable commerce. History tells 
us that the forefathers of these nations were distin- 
guished by the same nautical genius. 

The real Saxons — the invaders of England — are 
mentioned already in the middle of the second century, 
by Ptolemy, as skilful sailors. In the fourth and fifth 
century, they became dreaded from their piracies. They 
and their confederates, the Angles, originally inhabited 
the present Holstein, and the islands in the vicinity of 
the Baltic coast. Their neighbors, the Danes, were 
equally famous for maritime exploits. Their celebrated 
vykings still live in song and tale. Their piratical in- 
cursions and settlements in England, are known to 
every schoolboy. How familiar the JSTormans were with 
the watery element, is abundantly proved by history. 
They ascended the Rhine, and other rivers, for hundreds 
of miles, marking their landing-place by devastation. 

Of the Angle, the Saxon, the Dane, and the Norman, 
the present Englishman and his adventurous brother of 
Massachusetts, are lineal descendants. The best sailors 
in our commercial navy, next to the native sailors, are 
the Danes and the Swedes. Normandy, to this day, 
furnishes the best for the French service. — H. 





Mr. Guizot's and Mr. W. von Humboldt's definitions examined. 
Its elements. 

The reader will here pardon me an indispen- 
sable digression. I make use at almost every 
moment of a term comprising in its extensive sig- 
nification a collection of ideas which it is import- 
ant to define accurately: civilization. The greater 
or less degree in which this term is applicable to 
the social condition of various nations, is my only 
standard for the comparative merit of races. I 
also speak of a European civilization, in contra- 
distinction to others of a different character. It 
is the more necessary to avoid the least vagueness, 
as I am under the disagreeable necessity of differ- 
ing from a celebrated writer, who has assumed the 
special task of determining the meaning and com- 
prehensiveness of this expression. 

Mr. Guizot, in his History of Civilization in Mo- 


dern Europe, makes use of a term whicli seems to 
me to give rise to a serious confusion of ideas, and 
lead to positive errors. He says tliat civilization 
is a fact. 

Now, either tlie word fact must liere be under- 
stood in a sense mucli less strict and precise tlian 
common usage requires, a sense so indistinct — I 
might almost say elastic — as lias never pertained to 
it, or wliat we comprehend under the term civiliza- 
tion cannot be expressed by the word fact. Civil- 
ization is not a fact; it is a series, a concatenation 
of facts, more or less logically united, and result- 
ing from ideas often sufficiently diverse : ideas and 
facts continually reproduce each other. Civiliza- 
tion is a term applied to a certain state or condi- 
tion in which a society exists — a condition which 
is of its own creation, bears its character, and, in 
turn, reacts upon it. This condition is of so vari- 
able a nature, that it cannot be called a fact ; for a 
fact cannot be variable without ceasing to be a 
fact. In other words, there is more than one civil- 
ization: there are various kinds. Thus, a civiliza- 
tion may flourish under every form of government, 
and it does not cease to exist when civil commo- 
tions destroy or alter that form. 

Let it not be understood that I esteem govern- 
mental forms of little importance. Their choice 


is intimately connected with tlie prosperity of the 
society: if judicious, promoting and developing it! 
if unpractical, endangering its destruction. But 
I speak not here of the temporary prosperity or 
misery of a society. I speak of its civilization ; 
and this is a phenomenon whose causes must be 
sought elsewhere, and deeper than in transient 
political forms. Its character, its growth, fecundity, 
or barrenness, depends upon elementary principles 
of far greater importance. 

But, in Mr. Gruizot's opinion, civilization is a 
fact, a unity ; and it is of an essentially political 
character. Let us see how he defines it. He 
has chosen a series of hypotheses, describing so- 
ciety in various conditions, and then asks if the 
state so described is, in the general opinion of 
mankind, the state of a people advancing in civil- 
ization — if it answers to the signification which 
mankind generally attaches to this word.^ 

"First imagine a people whose outward circum- 
stances are easy and agreeable; few taxes; few 
hardships ; justice is fairly administered ; in a 
word, physical existence, taken altogether, is satis- 
factorily and happily regulated. But, with all 
this, the moral and intellectual energies of this 

' Hazlitt's translation, vol. i. p 21. New York, 1855. — H. 


people are studiously kept in a state of torpor and 
inertness. It can hardly be called oppression ; its 
tendency is not of that character — it is rather com- 
pression. We are not without examples of this 
state of society. There have been a great number 
of little aristocratic republics, in which the people 
have been thus treated like a flock of sheep, care- 
fully tended, physically happy, but without the 
least intellectual and moral activity. Is this civil- 
ization ? Do we recognize here a people in a state 
of moral and social advancement?" 

I know not whether such a people is in a state 
of advancement, but it certainly may be in a very 
advanced state of civilization, else we should find 
ourselves compelled to class among the savages 
or barbarians all those aristocratic republics of 
ancient and modern times, which answer Mr. 
Guizot's description. But the common sense of 
mankind would never ratify a method which 
ejected from within the pale of civilization not only 
the Phenicians, Carthaginians, and Lacedaemo- 
nians, but even Yenice, Genoa, Pisa, the free cities 
of Germany — in fact, all the powerful municipali- 
ties of the last centuries. But, besides this mode 
of proceeding being too paradoxical and restrict- 
ive, it seems to me to encounter another difficulty. 
Those little aristocratic states, to whom, on account 


of their form of government, Mr. Gruizot denies the 
aptitude for civilization, have, for the most part, 
never been in possession of a special culture pecu- 
liar to themselves. Powerful as many of them 
have been, they assimilated, in this respect, with 
nations differently governed, but of consanguineous 
affinity ; they formed a fragment only of a greater 
and more general civilization. Thus, the Carthagi- 
nians and Phenicians, though at a great distance 
from one another, had a similar mode of culture, 
the type of which must be sought in Assyria. The 
Italian republics participated in the same ideas and 
opinions which developed themselves in the bosorn 
of neighboring monarchies. The imperial cities 
of Thuringia and Suabia, although perfectly inde- 
pendent in a political point of view, were neverthe- 
less intimately united with the general progressive 
or retrogressive movement of the whole German 
race. Mr. Guizot, therefore, by assigning to the 
people of different countries degrees of merit pro- 
portionate to the degree and form of their liberty, 
creates unjustifiable subdivisions in the same race, 
and makes distinctions without a difference. A 
lengthy discussion is not in its place here, and I 
shall therefore proceed rapidly. If, however, it 
were necessary to enter into a controversy, might 
we not justly protest against recognizing any in- 


feriority in the case of Genoa, Pisa, Venice, and 
others, when compared with countries like Milan, 
Kaples, or Kome? 

Mr. Guizot has himself foreseen this difficulty, 
and removed the objection. If he does not recog- 
nize a state of civilization among a people "mildly 
governed, but in a state of compression," neither 
does he accord this prerogative to another, "whose 
outward circumstances are less favorable and agree- 
able, although supportable, but whose intellectual 
and moral cravings have not been entirely neglect- 
ed ; among whom pure and elevated sentiments 
have been cultivated, and religious and moral 
notions reached a certain degree of improvement, 
but among whom the desire of liberty has been 
stifled; where a certain portion of truth is doled 
out to each, but no one permitted to seek for it 
himself. This is the condition to which most of 
the populations of Asia are sunk, because theo- 
cratical governments there restrain the progress of 
mankind ; such, for instance, is the state of the 

Thus, besides the aristocratic nations of the 
earth, we must moreover exclude from the pale 
of civilization the Hindoos, Egjqitians, Etruscans, 
Peruvians, Thibetans, Japanese — nay, even modern 
Rome and her territories. 


I omit tTie last two hypotheses, because, thanks 
to the first two, the state of civilization is already 
restricted within boundaries so contracted that 
scarce any people on the globe is justified in 
pretending to it. A nation, then, can be called 
civilized only when it enjoys institutions hap- 
pily blending popular liberty and the requisite 
strength of authority for maintaining order; when 
its progress in material well-being and its moral 
development are co-ordinate in a certain manner, 
and no other; where religion, as well as govern- 
ment, is confined within limits accurately defined, 
which neither ever transgresses ; where each indi- 
vidual possesses clearly determinate and inalien- 
able rights. According to this formula, no nation 
can be civilized unless its political institutions are 
of the constitutional and representative form, and 
consequently it is impossible to save many Euro- 
pean nations from the reproach of barbarism. 
Then, measuring the degree of civilization by the 
perfection of this same and only political form, we 
are compelled to place in a second rank all those 
constitutional states which have ill employed the 
engine of parliament, to reserve the crown exclu- 
sively for those who know how to make good use 
of it. By this reasoning, I am forced to consider 


as truly civilized, in tlie past as well as tbe present, 
none but the single EnglisTi nation.^ 

' A careful comparison of Mr. Guizot's views "with those ex- 
pressed by Count Gobineau upon tliis interesting subject con- 
vinced me that the differences of opinion between these two 
investigators required a more careful and minute examination 
than the author has thought necessary. With this view, I sub- 
join further extracts from the celebrated ^^ History of Civilization 
in Europe," from which, I think, it will appear that few of the 
great truths comprised in the definition of civilization have es- 
caped the penetration and research of the illustriovis writer, but 
that, being unable to divest himself of the idea of unity of 
civilization, he has necessarily fallen into an error, with which 
a great metaphysician justly charges so many reasoners. "It 
is hard," says Locke, speaking of the abuse of words, "to find 
a discourse written on any subject, especially of controversy, 
wherein one shall not observe, if he read with attention, the 
same words (and those commonly the most material in the dis- 
course, and upon which the argument turns) used sometimes for 
one collection of simple ideas, and sometimes for another . . . 
... A man, in his accompts with another, might with as much 
fairness, make the characters of numbers stand sometimes for 
one, and sometimes for another collection of units (e. g., this 
character, 3, stand sometimes for three, sometimes for four, and 
sometimes for eight), as, in his discourse or reasoning, make the 
same words stand for different collections of simple ideas." 

Mr. Guizot opens his first lecture by declaring his intention 
of giving a "general survey of the history of European civiliza- 
tion, of its origin, its progress, its end, its character. I say Euro- 
pean civilization, because there is evidently so sticking a uni- 



I sincerely respect and admire that great peo- 
ple, "wliose victories, industry, and universal com- 

formity in the civilization of the different states of Europe, as 
fully to warrant this appellation. Civilization has flowed to 
them all from sources so much alike, it is so connected in them 
all — notwithstanding the great differences of time, of place, and 
circumstances — by the same principles, and it tends in them all 
to bring about the same results, that no one will doubt of there 
being a civilization essentially JEuropean." 

. Here, then, Mr. Guizot acknowledges one great truth con- 
tended for in this volume ; he virtually recognizes the fact that 
there may be other civilizations, having different origins, a dif- 
ferent progress, different characters, different ends. 

" At the same time, it must be observed, that this civilization 
cannot be found in — its history cannot be collected from — the 
history of any single state of Europe. However similar in its 
general appearance throughout the whole, its variety is not less 
remarkable, nor has it ever yet developed itself completely iu 
any particular country. Its characteristic features are widely 
spread, and we shall be obliged to seek, as occasion may require, 
in England, in France, in Germany, in Spain, for the elements 
of its history." 

This is precisely the idea expressed in my introduction, that 
according to the character of a nation, its civilization manifests 
itself in various ways ; in some, by perfection in the arts, useful 
or polite ; in others, by development of political forms, and 
their practical application, etc. If I had then wished to sup- 
port my opinion by a great authority, I should, assuredly, have 
quoted Mr. Guizot, who, a few pages further on, says : — 

"Wherever the exterior condition of man becomes enlarged, 
quickened, and improved ; wherever the intellectual nature of 


merce have left no portion of our globe igno- 
rant of its puissance and the prodigies it has 

man distinguishes itself by its energy, brilliancy, and its gran- 
deur; wlierever these signs occur, notwithstanding the gravest 
imperfections in the social system, there man proclaims and 
applauds a civilization." 

'^Notwithstanding the gravest imperfections in the social system," 
says Mr. Guizot, yet in the series of hypotheses, quoted in the 
text, in which he attempts a negative definition of civilization, 
by showing what civilization is not, he virtually makes a poli- 
tical form the test of civilization. 

In another passage, again, he says that civilization "is a 
course tor humanity to run — a destiny for it to accomplish. 
Nations have transmitted, from age to age, something to their 
successors which is never lost, but which grows, and continues 
as a common stock, and will thus be carried on to the end of all 
things. For my part (he continues), I feel assured that human 
nature has such a destiny ; that a general civilization pervades 
the human race ; that at every epoch it augments ; and that 
there, consequently, is a universal history of civilization to be 

It must be obvious to the reader who compares these exti'acts, 
that Mr, Guizot expresses a totally distinct idea or collection of 
ideas in each. 

First, the civilization of a particular nation, which exists 
" wherever the intellectual nature of man distinguishes itself 
by its energy, brilliancy, and grandeur." Such a civilization 
may flourish, "notwithstanding the greatest imperfections in 
the social system." 

Secondly, Mr. Guizot's beau-ideal of the best, most perfect 
civilization, where the political forms insure the greatest happi- 
ness, promote the most rapid — yet well-regulated — progress. 


performed. But still, I do not feel disposed to 
respect and admire in the world no other : it 
would seem to me too humiliating and cruel to 
humanity to confess that, since the beginning of 
time, it has never succeeded in producing a civil- 
ization anywhere but upon a small island of the 
Western Ocean, has never discovered the laws 
and forms which produce this state until the reign 

Thirdly, a great system of particular civilizations, as that of 
Europe, the various elements of which " are connected by the 
same principles, and tend all to bring about the same general 

Fourthly, a supposed general progress of the whole human 
race toward a higher state of perfection. 

To all these ideas, provided they are not confounded one with 
another, I have already given my assent. {See Introduction, -p. 51.) 
With regard to the latter, however, I would observe that it by 
no means militates against a belief in the intellectual imparity 
of races, and the permanency of this imparity. As in a 
society composed of individuals, all enjoy the fruits of the 
general progress, though all have not contributed to it in equal 
measure, and some not at all : so, in that society, of which we 
may suppose the various branches of the human family to be 
the members, even the inferior participate more or less in the 
benefits of intellectual labor, of which they would have been 
incapable. Because I can transport myself with almost the 
swiftness of a bird from one place to another, it does not follow 
that — though I profit by Watt's genius — I could have invented 
the steam-engine, or even that I understand the principles upon 
which that invention is based. — H. 


of "William and Mary. Sucli a conception of civil- 
ization miglit seem to many rather a little too 
narrow and restrictive. But tliere is another ob- 
jection. If we attach the idea of civilization to a 
political form, reason, observation, and science will 
soon lose their vote in the decision of the question, 
which must thenceforth be left to the passions and 
prejudices of parties. There will be some whose 
preferences will lead them stoutly to deny that the 
institutions of the British Isles are the "perfection 
of human reason:" their enthusiasm, perchance, 
will be expended in praising the order established 
in St. Petersburg or in Yienna. Many, again, and 
perhaps the greater number of all living between 
the Ehine and the Pyrenees, will sustain to the last 
that, notwithstanding a few blemishes, the most 
polished, the most civilized country of the world 
is la belle France. The moment that the decision 
of the degree of intellectual culture becomes a 
matter of preference, a question of sentiment, to 
come to an understanding is impossible. Each 
one will think him the man most advanced in 
civilization who shall coincide with his views 
about the respective duties of the governing and 
the governed ; while those who are uufoYtunate 
enough to differ, will be set down as men behind 
the age, little better than barbarians, mere "old 


fogies," wliose visual organs are too weak for the 
dazzling lights of the epoch ; or else as daring, 
incendiary innovators, who wish to destroy all 
established order, and sap the very foundation of 
civilization. I think few will differ from me in 
considering Mr. Guizot's definition as defective, 
and the source from which he derives civilization 
as not the real one. 

Let us now examine Baron W. Yon Humboldt's 
definition. "Civilization," says that celebrated 
statesman, "is the humanization of nations in their 
outward institutions, in their manners, and in the 
inward feelings upon which these depend."^ 

Here we meet with a defect of the very opposite 
kind to that which 1 took the liberty to point out 
in Mr. Guizot's definition. The formula is too 
vague, the boundary lines too indistinct. If civil- 
ization consists in a softening of manners, more 
than one untutored tribe, some extremely low in 
the scale of races, might take precedence over 
several European nations whose character con- 
tains more acerbity. There are in the South Sea 

1 W. Von Humboldt, Ueber die Kawi-Sprache auf der Insel 
Java; Mnleitunffj-vol. i. 'p. 87. Berlia. " Die Civilization ist die 
Vermenschlichung der Volker in ihren ilusseren Einrichtungen 
und Gebriiuchen, und der darauf Bezng habenden inneren Ge- 


Islands, and elscwliero, very inofi'ensive popula- 
tions, of exceedingly gentle manners, and kind, 
accommodating dispositions ; yet, though we may 
praise them, no one would think of placing them, 
in the scale of civilization, above the rough Nor- 
wegians, or even above the ferocious Malays, who, 
dressed in brilliant garments of their own fabric, 
and upon skilfully constructed vessels of their 
own making, traverse the Indian seas, at the same 
time the terror and scourge of maritime commerce, 
and its most successful votaries. This observation 
could not escape so great a mind as William Yon 
Humboldt's; and he therefore imagines, besides 
civilization, a higher degree of development, which 
he calls culture^ and by which he declares that na- 
tions gain, above their gentle manners, '''■science and 
the artsr^ When the world shall have arrived at 
this higher state, it will be peopled by affectionate 
and symjpathetic beings, very erudite, poetic, and 
artistic, but, by reason of this same reunion of 
qualities, ignoring the grosser wants of existence: 
strangers to the necessity of war, as well as those 
of rude mechanical toil. 

When we reflect upon the limited leisure that 

' William Von Humboldt. " Die Kultur fiigt dieser Ver- 
edlung des gesellscliaftlichen Zustandes Wissenschaft und Kunst 


the mass of even those can enjoy whose lot is cast 
in the happiest epoch, to abandon themselves to 
purely intellectual occupations — when we consider 
how incessant and arduous must ever "be the strife 
of man with nature and the elements to insure the 
mere means of subsistence, it will soon be per- 
ceived that the philosopher of Berlin aimed less 
at depicting realities than at drawing from the 
domain of abstraction certain entities which ap- 
peared to him beautiful and sublime, and which 
are so, indeed, and at causing them to act and 
move in a sphere as ideal as themselves. If any 
doubts should still remain in this respect, they are 
soon dispelled when we arrive at the culminating 
point of the system, consisting of a third and last 
degree superior to the two others. This greatest 
point of perfection is that upon which stands the 
finished man {der Gebildete): that is to say, the 
man who, in his nature, possesses " something 
higher and more inward or essential; a clear and 
comprehensive faculty of seeing all things in their 
true light ; a recognition and appreciation of the 
ultimate goal of man's moral and intellectual aspi- 
rations, which diffuses itself harmoniously over all 
his feelings and his character."^ 

' W. Von Humboldt, op. cit., p. 37: "Wenn wir in unserer 
Sprache Bildung Bagen, so meinen wii" damit etwas zugleicli 


We here have a regular gradation from man in 
a civilized or "humanized" state, to the man of cul- 
tivation — the philosopher, the poet, the artist; and 
thence still higher to the finished, the loerfect man, 
who has attained the greatest elevation possible 
to our species ; a man who, if I seize rightly Mr. 
Humboldt's idea, had his living counterpart in 
Goethe, as that towering mind is described to us 
in its Olympic serenity. This theory rests upon 
no other basis than Mr. Yon Humboldt's perception 
of the immense difference between the civilization 

Hoheres und mehr Innerlicheres, niimlich die Sinnesart, die sich 
aus der Erkenntniss und dem Gefiihle des gesammten geistigen 
und sittlichen Streben harmonish. auf die Empfindung und den 
Cbarakter ergiesst." 

As nothing can exceed the difficulty of rendering an abstract 
idea from the French into English, except to transmit the same 
from German into French, and as if all these processes must be 
undergone, the identity of the idea is greatly endangered, I 
have thought proper to translate at once from the original Ger- 
man, and therefore differ somewhat from Mr. Gobineau, -who 
gives it thus : " L'homme forme, c'est-a-dire, I'homme qui, dans 
sa nature, poss^de quelque chose de plus haut, de plus intime 
a la fois, c'est-a-dire, une fa9on de comprendre qui repand har- 
monieusement sur la sensibility et le charactere les impressions 
qu'elle re9oit de I'activit^ intellectuelle et morale dans son en- 
semble." I have taken great pains to express clearly Mr. Von 
Humboldt's idea, and have therefore amplified the word Sinnesart, 
which has not its precise equivalent iu English. — Trans. 


of a nation and tlie comparative heiglit of perfection 
attained by great, isolated individualities. This 
difference is so great tliat civilizations different 
from ours, and perhaps inferior to it, have pro- 
duced men in some respects superior to those we 
admire most. 

Upon this point I fully coincide with the great 
philosopher whose theory I am unfolding. It is 
perfectly correct, that our state of development — 
what we call the European civilization — produces 
neither the profoundest nor the sublimest thinkers, 
nor the greatest poets, nor the most skilful artists. 
Yet I venture to differ from the illustrious philo- 
logist in believing that to give a practical meaning 
to the word civilization, it is necessary to divest 
one's self, if but for a moment, from the prejudices 
or prepossessions resulting from the examination 
of mere details in any particular civilization. We 
must take the aggregate result of the whole, and 
not make the requisites too few, as in the case of 
the man of the first degree, whom I persist in not 
acknowledging as civilized merely because his 
manners are gentle; nor too many, as in the case 
of the sage of the third, for then the development 
of human faculties would be limited to a few 
individuals, and would produce results purely 
isolated and typical. 


The Baron Yon Humboldt's system* however, 
does honor to that exquisite and generous sensi- 
bility, that grand sublimity which was the domi- 
nant characteristic of this great mind ; and in its 
purely abstract nature may be compared to the 
fragile worlds of Brahmin philosophy. Born from 
the brain of a slumbering god, they rise in the air 
like the irised bubbles that the child blows from 
the suds, bursting and succeeding one another as 
the dreams that amuse the celestial sleeper. 

But the character of my researches permits me 
not to indulge in mere abstractions, however bril- 
liant and attractive ; I must arrive at results tan- 
gible to practical sense and common experience, 
I do not wish, like Mr. Guizot, to investigate the 
conditions more or less favorable to the prosperity 
of societies, nor, like Mr. William Yon Humboldt, 
to speculate upon the isolated elevation of indi- 
vidual intelligences ; my purpose is to encompass, 
if possible, the aggregate power, moral as well as 
material, which is developed in great masses of 
men. It is not without trepidation that I engage 
in a path in which two of the most admired men 
of our century have lost themselves; and to avoid 
the errors into which they have fallen, I shall 
descend to first principles, and define civilization 
by first investigating from what causes it results. 


If the reader, then, will follow me patiently and 
attentively through the mazes into which I am 
forced to enter, I shall endeavor to throw as much 
light as I am capable of, upon this inherently ob- 
scure and abstruse subject. 

There is no human being so degraded, so 
brutish, in whom a twofold instinct, if I may be 
permitted so to call it, is not manifest ; the instinct 
which incites to the gratification of material wants, 
and that which leads to higher aspirations. The 
degree of intensity of either of these two is the 
first and principal measure of the difl:erences 
among races. In none, not even in the lowest 
tribes, are the two instincts precisely balanced. 
Among some, the physical wants or animal pro- 
pensities preponderate; in others, these are sub- 
ordinate to the speculative tendencies — the crav- 
ings for the abstract, the supernatural. Thus, the 
lowest of the yellow races seem to me to be 
dominated rather by the first, the physical in- 
stinct, without, however, being absolutely de- 
prived of all capacity for abstractions. On the 
contrary, among the majority of the black races 
of corresponding rank, the habits are less active 
than pensive; imagination there attaches greater 
value to the things of the invisible than to those 
of the visible world, I do not thence deduce any 


conclusion of superior capacity for civilization on 
the part of those latter races over the former, for 
history demonstrates that both are equally insus- 
ceptible to attain it. Centuries, . thousands of 
years, have passed by without either of them 
doing aught to ameliorate their condition, because 
they have never been able to associate a sufficient 
number of ideas with the same number of facts, 
to begin the march of progress. I wish merely to 
draw attention to the fact, that even among the 
lowest races we find this double current differently 
constituted. I shall now follow the ascending 

Above the Samoyedes on the one hand, and 
the Fidas and Pelagian negroes on the other, we 
must place those tribes who are not content with 
a mere hut of branches, and a social condition 
based upon force only, but who are capable of 
comprehending and aspiring to a better condition. 
These are one degree above the most barbarous. 

If they belong to the first category of races — 
those who act more than they think, among whom 
the material tendency predominates over that for 
the abstract — their development will display itself 
in a greater perfection of their instruments of 
labor, and of war, in a greater care and skill in 
their ornaments, etc. In government, the warriors 


will take precedence over tlie priests; in their 
intercourse with, others, they will show a certain 
aptitude and readiness for trafficking. Their wars, 
though still characterized by cruelty, will originate 
rather in a love of gain, than in the mere gratifi- 
cation of vindictive passions. In one word, ma- 
terial well-being, physical enjoyments, will be the 
main pursuit of each individual. I find this pic- 
ture realized among several of the Mongol races, 
and also, to some extent, among the Quichuas and 
Azmaras of Peru. : 

On the other hand, if they belong to the second 
category — to those who have a predominating tend- 
ency for the speculative, the abstract — less care Avill 
be bestowed upon the material interests ; the influ- 
ence of the priests will preponderate in the govern- 
ment; in fact, we perceive a complete antithesis to 
the condition above described. The Dahomees, 
of Western Africa, and the Caffres of the south, 
are examples of this state. 

Leaving those races whose progressive tendency 
is not sufficiently vigorous to enable them to ex- 
tend their influence over great multitudes,^ we 
come to those of a higher order, in whom this 
tendency is so vigorous that they are capable of 

. ' See page 154. 


incorporating, and bringing witliin their sphere 
of action, all those they come in contact with. 
They soon ingraft their own social and political 
system upon immense multitades, and impose 
upon vast countries the dominion of that combi- 
nation of facts and ideas — more or less co-ordi- 
nate — which we call a civilization. Among these 
races, again, we find the same difference, the same 
division, that I already pointed out in those of in- 
ferior merit — in some the speculative, in others 
the more materially active tendency predominates. 
It is, indeed, among these races only, that this 
difference has important consequences, and is 
clearly perceptible. When a tribe, by incorporat- 
ing with it great multitudes, has become a people, 
has founded a vast dominion, we find that these 
two currents or tendencies have augmented in 
strength, according to the character of the popu- 
lations which enter into the combination, and there 
become blended. "Whatever tendency prevails 
among these populations, they will proportionably 
modify the character of the whole. It will be re- 
marked, moreover, that at different periods of the 
life of a people, and in strict accordance with the 
mixture of blood and the fusion of different ele- 
ments, the oscillation between the two tendencies 
becomes more violent, and it may happen that 


their relative proportion changes altogether ; that 
one, at first subordinate, in time becomes predo- 
minant. The results of this mobility are import- 
ant, as they influence, in a sensible manner, the 
character of a civilization, and its stability.^ 

For the sake of simplicity, I shall distinguish 
the two categories of races by designations ex- 
pressive of the tendency which predominates in 
them, and shall call them accordingly, either spec- 
ulative or utilitarian!^ As I have before observed, 
these terms imply neither praise nor blame. I use 
them merely for convenience, to designate the 

' Mr. Klemm (AUgemeine Culturgeschichte der Menschheit, 
Leipzig, 1849) adopts, also, a division of all races into two cate- 
gories, Tvliicli he calls respectively the active and the passive. I 
have not had the advantage of perusing his book, and cannot, 
therefore, say whether his idea is similar to mine. It would 
not be surprising that, in pursuing the same road, we should 
both have stumbled over the same truth. 

2 The translator has here permitted himself a deviation from 
the original. Mr. Gobineau, to express his idea, borrows from 
the symbolism of the Hindoos, where the feminine principle is 
represented by Prakriti, and the masculine by Purucha, and 
calls the two categories of races respectively feminine and 
masculine. But as he " thereby wishes to express nothing but a 
mutual fecundation, without ascribing any superiority to either," 
and as the idea seems fully rendered by the words used in the 
translation, the latter have been thought preferable, as not so 
liable to misrepresentation and misconception. — H. 


leading cliaracteristic, without tlierelDj expressing 
a total absence of the other. Thus, the most 
utilitarian of the speculative races would closely 
approximate to the most speculative of the utili- 
tarian. At the head of the utilitarian category, as 
its type, I place the Chinese; at the head, and as 
the type of the other, the Hindoos. Next to the 
Chinese I would put the majority of the popula- 
tions of ancient Italy, the first Eomans of the time 
of the republic, and the Germanic tribes. On the 
opposite side, among the speculative races, I would 
range next to the Hindoos, the Egyptians, and the 
nations of the Assyrian empire. 

I have said already that the oscillations of the 
two principles or tendencies sometimes result in 
the preponderance of one, which before was sub- 
ordinate, and thus the character of the civilization 
is changed. Minor modifications, the history of 
almost every people presents. Thus, even the mate- 
rialistic utilitarian tendency of the Chinese has been 
somewhat modified by their amalgamation with 
tribes of another blood, and a different tendency. 
In the south, the Yunnan particularly, where this 
population prevailed, the inhabitants are much less 
exclusively utilitarian than in the north, where 
the Chinese element is more pure. If this admix- 
ture of blood operated so slight a change in the 


genius of that immense nation, tliat its effects have 
ceased, or make themselves perceptible only in an 
exceedingly slow manner, it is because its quantity 
was so extremely small, compared to the utilita- 
rian population by which it was absorbed. 

Into the actual populations of Europe, the Ger- 
manic tribes infused a strong utilitarian tendency, 
and in the north, this has been continually recruited 
by new accessions of the same ethnical element ; 
but in the south (with some exceptions, Piedmont, 
and the North of Spain, for example), the Germa- 
nic element forms not so great a portion of the 
whole mass, and the utilitarian tendency has there 
been overweighed by the opposite genius of the 
native populations. 

Among the speculative races we have signalized 
the Hindoos. They are endowed in a high degree 
with the tendency for the supernatural, the abstract. 
Their character is more meditative than active and 
practical. As their ancient conquests incorporated 
with them races of a similar disposition, the utili- 
tarian element has never prevailed sufficiently to 
produce decided results. While, therefore, their 
civilization has arrived at a high degree of perfec- 
tion in other respects, it has lagged far behind in 
all that promotes material comfort, in all that is 
strictly useful and practical. 

civiLizATior- 271 

Eome, at first strictly iitilitarian, changed its 
character gradually as the fusion with Grreek, 
Asiatic, and African elements proceeded, and when 
once the ancient utilitarian population was ab- 
sorbed in this ethnical inundation, the practical 
character of Eome was lost. 

From the consideration of these and similar 
facts, I arrive at the conclusion, that all intellectual 
or moral activity results from the combined action 
and mutual reaction of these two tendencies, and 
that the social system can arrive at that develop- 
ment which entitles it to the name of civilization, 
only in races which possess, in a high degree, 
either of the two, without being too much deficient 
in the other, 

I now proceed to the examination of other 
points also deserving of notice. 




Definition of the term — Specific differences of civilizations — 
Hindoo, Chinese, European, Greek, and Roman civilizations 
— Universality of Chinese civilization — Superficiality of ours 
— Picture of the social condition of France. 

"When a tribe, impelled by more vigorous in- 
stincts than its neighbors, succeeds in collecting 
the hitherto scattered and isolated fragments into 
a compact whole, the first impetus of progress is 
thus given, the corner-stone of a civilization laid. 
But, to produce great and lasting results, a mere 
political preponderance is not sufficient. The 
dominant race must know how to lay hold of the 
feelings of the masses it has aggregated, to assimi- 
late their individual interests, and to concentrate 
their energies to the same purposes. When the 
different elements composing the nation are thus 
blended into a more or less homogeneous mass, 
certain principles and modes of thinking become 


general, and form tlie standard aronnd which all 
rally. These principles and modes of thinking, 
however, cannot be arbitrarily imposed, and must 
be resulting from, and in the main consonant with, 
pre-existing sentiments and desires.^ They will 
be characterized by a utilitarian or a speculative 
tendency, according to the degree in which either 
instinct predominates in the constituent elements 
of the nation. 

This harmony of views and interests is the first 
essential to civilization; the second is stability, 
and is a natural consequence of the first. The 
general principles upon which the political and 
social system rests, being based upon instincts 
common to all, are by all regarded with the most 
affectionate veneration, and firmly believed to be 
perpetual. The purer a race remains, the more 
conservative will it be in its institutions, for its 
instincts never change. But the admixture of 
foreign blood produces proportionate modifica- 
tions in the national ideas. The new-comers 
introduce instincts and notions which were 
not calculated upon in the social edifice. Altera- 
tions therefore become necessary, and these are 
oflen wholesome, especially in the youthful period 

' See a quotation from De Tocqueville to the same effect, p. 77. 


of the society, wlien tlie new ethnical elements 
have not as yet acquired an nndue preponderancef 
But, as the empire increases, and comprises ele- 
ments more and more heterogeneous, the changes 
become more radical, and are not always for the 
better. Finally, as the initiatory and conservative 
element disappears, the different parts of the na- 
tion are no longer united by common instincts 
and interests; the original institutions are not 
adapted to their wants ; sudden and total transfor- 
mations become common, and a vain phantom of 
stability is pursued through endless experiments. 
But, while thus vacillating betwixt conflicting in- 
terests, and changing its purpose every hour, the 
nation imagines itself advancing to some imaginary 
goal of perfection. Firmly convinced of its own 
perpetuity, it holds fast to the doctrine which its 
daily acts disprove, that one of the principal fea- 
tures of a civilization is God-like immutability. 
And though each day brings forth new discontents 
and new changes equally futile, the apprehensions 
of the day are quieted with the expectations of 

I have said that the conditions necessary for the 
development of a civilization are — the aggregation 
of large masses, and stable institutions resulting 
from common views and interests. The sociable 


inclinations of man, and tlie less noble attributes 
of his nature, perform tlie rest. ^ liile the former 
bring bim in intimate and varied connections witb 
bis fellow-men, tbe latter give rise to continual 
contests and emulation. In a large community, a 
strong fist is no longer sufficient to insure protec- 
tion and give distinction, and tbe resources of tbe 
mind are applied and developed. Intellect con- 
tinually seeks and finds new fields for exertion, 
eitber in tbe regions of tbe abstract, or in tbe 
material world. By its productions in eitber, we 
recognize an advanced state of society. Tbe most 
common source of error in judging foreign nations, 
is tbat we are apt to look merely at tbe exterior 
demonstrations of tbeir civilization, and because, 
in tbis respect, tbeir civilization does not resemble 
ours, we bastily conclude tbat tbey are barbarous, 
or, at least, greatly inferior to us. A conclusion, 
drawn from sucb premises, must needs be very 
superficial, and therefore ougbt to be received witb 

I believe myself now prepared to express my 
idea of a civilization, by defining it as 

A state of comparative stability^ in which a large 
collection of individuals strive, hy peaceful means, to 
satisfy their wants, and refine their intelligence and 


This definition includes, without exception, all 
the nations which I have mentioned as being civil- 
ized. But, as these nations have few points of resem- 
blance, the question suggests itself: Do not, then, 
all civilizations tend to the same results ? I think 
not ; for, as the nations called to the noble task of 
accomplishing a civilization, are endowed with the 
utilitarian and speculative tendencies in various 
degrees and proportions, their paths must neces- 
sarily lie in very divergent directions. 

What are the material wants of the Hindoo ? 
Eice and butter for his nourishment, and a piece 
of cotton cloth for his garment. Nor can this 
abstemiousness be accounted for by climate, for 
the native of Thibet, under a much more rigorous 
sky, displays the same quality. In these peoples, 
the imaginative faculty greatly predominates, their 
intellectual efforts are directed to abstractions, and 
the fruits of their civilization are therefore seldom 
of a practical or utilitarian character. Magnificent 
temples are hewn out of mountains of solid rock 
at an expense of labor and time that terrifies the 
imagination; gigantic constructions are erected; 
— all this in honor of the gods, while nothing is 
done for man's benefit, unless it be tombs. By 
the side of the miracles wrought by the sculptor's 
chisel, we admire the finished masterpieces of a 


literature full of vigor, and as ingenious and subtle 
in theology and metaphysics, as beautiful in its 
variety : in speculative efforts, human thought de- 
scends without trepidation to immeasurable depths; 
its lyric poetry challenges the admiration of all 

But if we leave the domain of idealistic reveries, 
and seek for inventions of practical utility, and 
for the sciences that are their theoretical basis, we 
find a deplorable deficiency. From a dazzling 
height, we suddenly find ourselves descended to a 
profound and darksome abyss. Useful inventions 
are scarce, of a petty character, and, being neglected, 
remain barren of results. While the Chinese ob- 
served and invented a great deal, the Hindoos in- 
vented but little, and of that little took no care ; 
the Greeks, also, have left us much information, 
but little worthy of their genius ; and the Eomans, 
once arrived at the culminating point of their 
history, could no longer make any real progress, 
for the Asiatic admixture in which they were ab- 
sorbed with surprising rapidity, produced a popu- 
lation incapable of the patient and toilsome inves- 
tigation of stern realities. Their administrative 
genius, however, their legislation, and the useful 
monuments with which they provided the soil of 
their territories, attest sufficiently the practical 


cTiaracter wliicli, at one time, so eminently cha- 
racterized that people ; and prove that if the 
South of Europe had not been so rapidly sub- 
merged with colonists from Asia and the North of 
Africa, positive science would have been the 
gainer, and less would have been left to be accom- 
plished by the Germanic races, which afterward' 
gave it a renewed impulse. 

The Germanic conquerors of the fifth century 
were characterized by instincts of a similar kind 
to those of the Chinese, but of a higher order. 
"While they possessed the utilitarian tendency as 
strongly, if not stronger, they had, at the same 
time, a much greater endowment of the specula- 
tive. Their disposition presented a happy blend- 
ing of these two mainsprings of activity. Where- 
eVer the Teutonic blood predominates, the utilita- 
rian tendency, ennobled and refined by the 
speculative, is unmistakable. In England, North 
America, and Holland, this tendency governs and 
preponderates over all the other national instincts. 
It is so, in a lesser degree, in Belgium, and even 
in the North of France, where everything suscep- 
tible of practical application is understood with 
marvellous facility. But as we advance further 
south, this predisposition is less apparent, and, 
finally, disappears altogether. We cannot at- 


tribute tliis to tlie action of the sun, for the 
Piedmontese live in a mucb. warmer climate tlian 
tbe Provengals and the inhabitants of the Langue- 
doc ; it is the effect of blood. 

The series of speculative races, or those render- 
ed so by admixture, occupies the greater portion 
of the globe, and this observation is particularly 
applicable to Europe. With the exception of the 
Teutonic family, and a portion of the Sclavonic, 
all other groups of our part of the world are but 
slightly endowed with the faculty for the useful 
and practical ; or, having already acted their part 
in the world's history, will not be able to recom- 
mence it. All these races, from the Gaul to the 
Celtiberian, and thence to the variegated com- 
pounds of the Italian populations, present a de- 
scending scale from a utilitarian point of view. 
Not that they are devoid of all the aptitudes of 
that tendency, but they are wanting in some of 
the most essential. 

The union of the Germanic tribes with the 
races of the ancient world, this engrafting of a 
vigorous utilitarian princij)le upon the ideas of 
that variegated compound, produced our civiliza- 
tion ; the richness, diversity, and fecundity of our 
state of culture is the natural result of that com- 
bination of so many different elements, whicli 


eacli contributed their part, and "which the practi- 
cal vigor of our Germanic ancestors, succeeded in 
blending into a more or less harmonious whole. 

Wherever our state of civilization extends, it is 
characterized by two traits ; the first, that the 
population contains a greater or less admixture of 
Teutonic blood; the other, that it is Christian. 
This last feature, however, as I said before, though 
the most obvious and striking, is by no means 
essential, because many nations are Christian, and 
many more may become so, without participating 
in our civilization. But the first feature is posi- 
tive, decisive. Wherever the Germanic element 
has not penetrated, our civilization cannot flourish.^ 

' One striking observation, in connection with this fact, Mr. 
Gobineau has omitted to make, probably not because it escaped 
his sagacity, but because he is himself a Roman Catholic. 
Wherever the Teutonic element in the population is predomi- 
nant, as in Denmark, Sweden, Holland, England, Scotland, 
Northern Germany, and the United States, Protestantism pre- 
vails ; wherever, on the contrary, the Germanic element is sub- 
ordinate, as in portions of Ireland, in South America, and the 
South of Europe, Roman Catholicism finds an impregnable 
fortress in the hearts of the people. An ethnographical chart, 
carefully made out, would indicate the boundaries of each in 
Christendom. I do not here mean to assert that the Christian 
religion is accessible only to certain races, having already em- 
phatically expressed my opinion to the contrary. I feel firmly 


This leads me to tlie investigation of a serious 
and important question : " Can it be asserted tliat 
all the European nations are really and thorouglily 
civilized?" Do the ideas and facts which rise 
upon the surface of our civilization, strike root 
in the basis of our social and political structure, 
and derive their vitality from that source ? Are 
the results of these ideas and facts such as are 
conformable to the instincts, the tendencies, of the 
masses ? Or, in other words, have the lowest strata 
of our populations the same direction of thought 
and action as the highest — that direction which we 

convinced that a Roman Catliolic may be as good and pious a 
Ciiristian as a member of any other Christian Church ■whatever, 
but I see in this fact the demonstration of that leading charac- 
teristic of the Germanic races — independence of thought, which 
incites them to seek for truth, even in religion, for themselves ; 
to investigate everything, and take nothing upon trust. 

I have, moreover, in favor of my position, the high authority 
of Mr. Macaulay : " The Reformation," says that distinguished 
essayist and historian, " was a national as well as a moral 
revolt. It had been not only an insurrection of the laity 
against the clergy, but also an insurrection of the great German 
race against an alien domination. It is a most significant 
circumstance, that no large society of which the tongue is not 
Teutonic, has ever turned Protestant, and that, wherever a 
language derived from ancient Rome is spoken, the religion of 
modern Rome to this day prevails." [Hist, of England^ vol. i- 
p. 53.)— H. 



may call the spirit or genius of our progressive 
movement? ' 

To arrive at a true and unbiassed solution of 
tMs question, let us examine other civilizations, 
different from ours, and then institute a compari- 

The similarity of views and ideas, the unity of 
purpose, which characterized the whole body of 
citizens in the Grecian states, during the brilliant 
period of their history, has been justly admired. 
Upon every essential point, the opinions of every 
individual, though often conflicting, were, never- 
theless, derived from the same source, emanated 
from the same general views and sentiments ; indi- 
viduals might differ in politics, one wishing a more 
oligarchical, another a more democratic govern- 
ment ; or they might differ in religion, one worship- 
ping, by preference, the Eleusinian Ceres, another 
the Minerva of the Parthenon ; or in matters of 
taste, one might prefer -^schylus to Sophocles, 
Alceus to Pindar. At the bottom, the disputants 
all participated in the same views and ideas, ideas 
which might well be called national. The question 
was one of degree, not of kind.^ 

' Thus Sparta and Athens, respectively, stood at the head of 
the oligarchic and democratic parties, and the alternate prepon- 
derance of either of the two often inundated each state with 


Eome, previous to tlie Punic wars, presented 
the same spectacle ; tlie civilization of the country 
was uniform, and embraced all, from the master to 
the slave.^ All might not participate in it to the 
same extent, but all participated in it and in no 

blood. Yet Sparta and Athens, and the partisans of each in 
every state, possessed the spirit of liberty and independence in 
an equal degree. Themistocles and Aristides, the two great 
party leaders of Athens, vied with each other in patriotism. 

This uniformity of general views and purpose, Mr. De Tocque- 
ville found in the United States, and he correctly deduces from 
it the conclusion that " though the citizens are divided into 24 
(31) distinct sovereignties, they, nevertheless, constitute a 
single nation, and form more truly a state of society, than many 
peoples of Europe, living under the same legislation, and the 
same prince." (Vol. i. p. 425.) This is an observation which 
Europeans make last, because they do not find it at home ; and 
in return, it prevents the American from acquiring a clear con- 
ception of the state of Europe, because he thinks the disputes 
there involve no deeper questions than the disputes around him. 
In certain fundamental principles, all Americans agree, to what- 
ever party they may belong ; certain general characteristics be- 
long to them all, whatever be the differences of taste, and indi- 
vidual preferences ; it is not so in Europe — England, perhaps, 
excepted, and Sweden and Denmark. But I will not anticipate 
the author. — H. 

' It is well known that, in both Greece and Rome, the educa- 
tion of the children of wealthy families was very generally in- 
trusted to slaves. Some of the greatest philosophers of ancient 
Greece were bondsmen. — H. 


But in Eome, after the Panic wars, and in Greece, 
soon after Pericles, and especially after Philip of 
Macedon, this character of homogeneity began to 
disappear. The greater mixture of nations pro- 
duced a corresponding mixture of civilizations, 
and the compound thus formed exceeded in variety, 
elegance, refinement, and learning, the ancient 
mode of culture. But it had this capital inconve- 
nience, both in Hellas and in Italy, that it belonged 
exclusively to the higher classes. Its nature, its 
merits, its tendencies, were ignored by the sub- 
strata of the population. Let us take the civiliza- 
tion of Eome after the Asiatic wars. It was a grand, 
magnificent monument of human genius. It had a 
cosmopolitan character : the rhetoricians of Greece 
contributed to it the transcendental spirit, the 
jurists and publicists of Syria and Alexandria 
gave it a code of atheistic, levelling, and monarchi- 
cal laws — each part of the empire furnished to the 
common store some portion_^of its ideas, its sciences, 
and its character. But whom did this civilization 
embrace? The men engaged in the public adminis- 
tration or in great monetary enterprises, the people 
of wealth and of leisure. It was merely submitted 
to, not adopted by the masses. The populations 
of Europe understood nothing of those Asiatic and 
African contributions to the civilization ; the inha- 


bitants of Egypt, Numidia, or Asia, were equally 
uninterested in what came from Gaul and Spain, 
countries witli wMcli they had nothing in common. 
But a small minority of the Eoman people stood 
on the pinnacle, and being in possession of the 
secret, valued it. The rest, those not included in 
the aristocracy of wealth and position, preserved 
the civilization peculiar to the land of their birth, 
or, perhaps, had none at all. Here, then, we have 
an example of a great and highly perfected civil- 
ization, dominating over untold millions, but 
founding its reign not in their desires or convic- 
tions, but in their exhaustion, their weakness, their 

A very different spectacle is presented in China. 
The boundless extent of that empire includes, in- 
deed, several races markedly distinct, but I shall 
speak at present only of the national race, the 
Chinese proper. One spirit animates the whole of 
this immense multitude, which is counted by hun- 
dreds of millions. AVhatever we think of their 
civilization, whether we admire or censure the 
principles upon which it is based, the results which 
it has produced, and the direction which it takes ; 
we cannot deny that it pervades all ranks, that 
every individual takes in it a definite and intelli- 
gent part. And this is not because the country is 


free, in our sense of tlie word : there is no demo- 
cratic principle which, secures, bj law, to every 
one the position which his efforts may attain, and 
thus spurs him on to exertions. No ; I discard 
all Utopian pictures. The peasant and the man of 
the middle classes, in the Celestial Empire, are no 
better assured of rising by their own merit only, 
than they are elsewhere. It is true that, in theory, 
public honors are solely the reward of merit, and 
every one is permitted to offer himself as a candi- 
date ;^ but it is well known that, in reality, the 
families of great functionaries monopolize all 
lucrative offices, and that the scholastic diplomas 
often cost more money than efforts of study. But 

• China has no hereditary nobility. The class of mandarins 
is composed of those who have received diplomas in the great 
colleges with which the country abounds. A decree of the Em- 
peror JiN-TsouNG, who reigned from 1023 to 1063, regulated 
the modes of examination, to which all, indiscriminately, are 
admitted. The candidates are examined more than once, and 
every precaution is taken to prevent frauds. Thus, the son of 
the poorest peasant may become a mandarin, but, as he after- 
wards is dependent on the emperor for office or employment, 
this dignity is often of but little practical value. Still, there 
are numerous instances on record, in the history of China, of 
men who have risen from the lowest ranks to the first offices of 
the State, and even to the imperial dignity. (See Pauthier's His- 
toire de la Chine.) — H. * 


disappointed or hopeless ambition never leads tlie 
possessor to imagine a different system ; tlie aim 
of the reformer is to remedy the abuses of the 
established organization, not to substitute another. 
The masses may groan under ills and abuses, but 
the fault is charged, not to the social and political 
system, which to them is an object of unqualified 
admiration, but to the persons to whose care the per- 
formance of its duties is committed. The head of 
the government, or his functionaries, may become 
unpopular, but the form itself, the government, 
never. A very remarkable feature of the Chinese 
is that among them primary instruction is so 
universal ; it reaches classes whom we hardly 
imagine to have any need of it. The cheapness 
of books, the immense number and low price of 
the schools, enable even the poorest to acquire the 
elements of knowledge, reading and writing.^ The 

1 John F. Davis, The Chinese. London, 1840, p. 274. " Three 
or four volumes of any ordinary work of the octavo size and 
shape, may be had for a sum equivalent to two shillings. A 
Canton bookseller's manuscript catalogue marked the price of 
the four books of Confucius, including the commentary, at a 
price rather under half a crown. The cheapness of their com- 
mon literature is occasioned partly by the mode of printing, but 
partly also by the low price of paper." 

These are Canton prices ; in the interior of the empire, books 
are still cheaper, even in proportion to the value of money iu 


laws, their spirit and tendency, are well known 
and understood by all classes, and the government 
prides itself upon facilitating the study of this use- 
ful science.' The instinct of the masses is decidedly 
averse to all political convulsions. Mr. Davis, who 

China. Their classic works are sold at a proportionably lower 
price than the very refuse of our literature. A pamphlet, or 
small tale, may be bought for a sapeck, about the seventeenth 
part of a cent ; an ordinary novel, for a little more or less than 
one cent. — H. 

' There are certain offences for which the punishment is re- 
mitted, if the culprit is able to explain lucidly the nature and 
object of the law respecting them. (See IIuc's Trav. in China, vol. 
ii. p. 252.) In the same .place, Mr. Hue bears witness to the 
correctness of our author's assertion. "Measures are taken," 
says he, "not only to enable the magistrates to understand per- 
fectly the laws they are called upon to apply, but also to diffuse 
a knowledge of them among the people at large. All persons in 
the employment of the government, are ordered to make the code 
their particular study ; and a special enactment provides, that 
at certain periods, all officers, in all localities, shall be examined 
upon their knowledge of the laws by their respective superiors ; 
and if their answers are not satisfactory, they are punished, the 
high officials by the retention of a month's pay; the inferior 
ones by forty strokes of the bamboo." It must not be imagined 
that Mr. Hue speaks of the Chinese in the spirit of a panegyrist. 
Any one who reads this highly instructive and amusing book 
(now accessible to English readers by a ti'anslation), will soon 
be convinced of the contrary. He seldom speaks of them to 
praise them. — H. 


was commissioner of H. B. Majesty in China, and 
who studied its affairs witli the assiduity of a man 
who is interested in understanding them well, says 
that the character of the people cannot be better 
expressed than by calling them " a nation of steady 

Here, then, we have a most striking contrast to 
the civilization of Rome in her latter days, when 
governmental changes occurred in fearfully rapid 
succession, until the arrival of the nations of the 
north. In every portion of that vast empire, there 
were whole populations that had no interest in the 
preservation of established order, and were ever 
ready to second the maddest schemes, to embark in 
any enterprise that seemed to promise advantage, 
or that was represented in seductive colors by some 
ambitious demagogue. During that long period 
of several centuries, no scheme was left untried : 
property, religion, the sanctity of family relations, 
were all called in question, and innovators in 
every portion of the empire, found multitudes 
ever disposed to carry their theories into practice 
by force. Nothing in the Greco -Eoman world 
rested on a solid basis, not even the imperial 
unity, so indispensable, it would seem, to the mere 

' Op. cit., p. 100. 


self-preservation of sucTi a state of society. It 
was not only the armies, witli their swarm of 
improvisto Csesars, that undertook the task of 
shaking this palladium of national safety ; the em- 
perors themselves, beginning with Diocletian, had 
so little faith in monarchy, that they willingly made 
the experiment of dualism in the government, 
and finally found four at a time not too many for 
governing the empire.^ I repeat it, not one insti- 
tution, not one principle, was stable in that 
wretched state of society, which continued to pre- 
serve some outward form, merely from the physical 
impossibility of assuming any others, until the 
men of the north came to assist in its demolition. 
Between these two great societies, then, the Eo- 
man empire, and that of China, we perceive the 

1 The reader mil remember that Diocletian, ■who, the son 
of a slave, rose from the rank of a common soldier, to the 
throne of the empire of the world, associated with himself in 
the government, his friend Maximian, A. D. 286. After six 
years of this joint reign, they took two other partners, Gale- 
Kius and Constantius. Thus, the empire, though nominally 
one sovereignty, had in reality four supreme heads. Under 
Constantine the Great, the imperial unity was restored ; but at 
his decease, the purple was again parcelled out among his sons 
and nephews. A permanent division of the empire, however, 
was not effected until the death of Theodosius the Great, who 
for sixteen years had enjoyed undivided power. 


most complete contrast. By the side of tlie civil- 
ization of Eastern Asia, I may mention that of 
India, Thibet, and other portions of Central Asia, 
which is equally universal, and diii'used among 
all ranks and classes. As in China there is a cer- 
tain level of information to which all attain, so in 
Hindostan, every one is animated by the same 
spirit ; each individual knows precisely what his 
caste requires him to learn, to think, to believe. 
Among the Buddhists of Thibet, and the table- 
lands of Asia, nothing is rarer than to find a pea- 
sant who cannot read, and there everybody has the 
same convictions upon important subjects. 

Do we find this homogeneity in European na- 
tions ? It is scarce worth while to put the question. 
Not even the Greco-Eoman empire presents incon- 
gruities so strange, or contrasts so striking, as are 
to be found among us ; not only among the 
various nationalities of Europe, but in the bosom 
of the same sovereignty. I shall not speak of 
Eussia, and the states that form the Austrian 
empire ; the demonstration of my position would 
there be too facile. Let us turn to Germany ; to 
Italy, Southern Italy in particular ; to Spain, which, 
though in a less degree, presents a similar picture ; 
or to France. 


I select France. The difference of manners, in 
various parts of this country, has struck even the 
most superficial observer, and it has long since 
been observed that Paris is separated from the 
rest of France by a line of demarcation so decided 
and accurately defined, that at the very gates of 
the capital, a nation is found, utterly different from 
that within the walls. Nothing can be more true: 
those who attach to our political unity the idea of 
similarity of thoughts, of character — in fine, of 
nationality, are laboring under a great delusion. 
There is not one principle that governs^ society 
and is connected with our civilization, which is 
understood in the same manner in all our de- 
partments. I do not speak here merely of the 
peculiarities that characterize the native of ISTor- 
mandy, of Brittany, Angevin, Limousin, Gascony, 
Provence. Every one knows how little alike 
these various populations are,^ and how they differ 
in their tendencies and modes of thinking, I 

' It is not universally known that the various populations 
of France differ, not only in character, but in physical appear- 
ance. The native of the southern departments is easily known 
from the native of the central and northern. The average 
stature in the north is said to be an inch and a half more than 
in the south. This difference is easily perceptible in the regi- 
ments drawn from either. — H. 


wish to draw attention to the fact, tliat while in 
China, Thibet, India, the most essential ideas upon 
which the civilization is based, are common to all 
classes, participated in by all, it is by no means 
so among ns. The very rudiments of our know- 
ledge, the most elementary and most generally ac- 
cessible portion of it, remain an impenetrable mys- 
tery to our rural populations, among whom but 
few individuals are found acquainted with reading 
and writing. This is not for want of opportuni- 
ties — it is because no value is attached to these 
acquisitions, because their utility is not perceived. 
I speak from my own observation, and that of 
persons who had ample facilities, and brought 
extensive information and great judgment to the 
task of investigation. Government has made the 
most praiseworthy efforts to remedy the evil, to 
raise the peasantry from the sink of ignorance in 
which they vegetate. But the "vyisest laws, and 
the most carefully calculated institutions have 
proved abortive. The smallest village affords 
ample opportunities for common education ; even 
the adult, when conscription forces him into the 
army, finds in the regimental schools every faci- 
lity for acquiring the most necessary branches of 
knowledge. Compulsion is resorted to — every one 
who has lived in the provinces knows with what 


success. Parents send their children to school 
with undisguised repugnance, for they regret the 
time thus spent as wasted, and, therefore, eagerly 
seize the most trifling pretext for withdrawing 
them, and never suffer them to exceed the legal 
term of attendance. So soon as the young man 
leaves school, or the soldier has served his time, 
they hasten to forget what they were compelled to 
learn, and what they are heartily ashamed of. 
They return forever after to the local patois^ of 
their birthplace, and pretend to have forgotten 
the French language, which, indeed, is but too 
often true. " It is a painful conclusion, but one 
which many and careful observations have forced 
upon me, that all the generous private and public 
endeavors to instruct our rural population, are ab- 
solutely futile, and can tend no further than to 
enforce an outward compliance. They care not for 
the knowledge we wish to give them — they will 
not have it, and this not from mere negligence or 
apathy, but from a feeling of positive hostility to 

1 Many of these patois bear but little resemblance to the 
French language : the inhabitants of the Landes, for example, 
speak a tongue of their own, which, I believe, has roots entirely 
diiferent. For the most part, they are unintelligible to those 
who have not studied them. Over a million and a half of the 
population of France speak German or German dialects. — 11. 


our civilization. This is a startling assertion, l3ut 
I liave not yet adduced all tlie proofs in support of 

In those parts of the country where the labor- 
ing classes are employed in manufactures princi- 
pally, and in the great cities, the workmen are 
easily induced to learn to read and write. The 
circumstances with which they are surrounded, 
leave them no doubt as to the practical advantages 
accruing to them from these acquisitions. But so 
soon as these men have sufficiently mastered the 
first elements of knowledge, to what use do they, 
for the most part, apply them ? To imbibe or 
give vent to ideas and sentiments the most sub- 
versive of all social order. The instinctive, but 
passive hostility to our civilization, is super- 
seded by a bitter and active enmity, often pro- 
ductive of the most fearful calamities. It is amon^ 
these classes that the projectors of the wildest, 
most incendiary schemes readily recruit their 
partisans ; that the advocates of socialism, commu- 
nity of goods and wives, all, in fact, who, under 
the pretext of removing the ills and abuses that 
afflict the social system, propose to tear it down, 
find ready listeners and zealous believers. 

There are, however, portions of the country to 
which this picture does not apply ; and these ex- 


ceptions farnisli me with, another proof in favor of 
my proposition. Among the agricultural and 
manufacturing populations of the north and north- 
east, information is general ; it is readily received, 
and, once received, retained and productive of 
good fruits. These people are intelligent, well- 
informed, and orderly, like tlieir neighbors in Bel- 
gium and the whole of the Netherlands. And 
these, also, are the populations most closely akin 
to the Teutonic race, the race which, as I said in 
another place, gave the initiative to our civilization. 
The aversion to our civilization, of which I spoke, 
is not the only singular feature in the character of 
our rural populations. If we penetrate into the pri- 
vacy of their thoughts and beliefs, we make disco- 
veries equally striking and startling. The bishops 
and parish clergy have to this day, as they had one, 
five, or fifteen centuries ago, to battle with myste- 
rious superstitions, or hereditary tendencies, some 
of which are the more formidable as they are sel- 
dom openly avowed, and can, therefore, be neither 
attacked nor conquered. There is no enlightened 
priest, that has the care of his flock at heart, but 
knows from experience with what deep cunning 
the peasant, however devout, knows how to con- 
ceal in his own bosom some fondly cherished tra- 
ditional idea or belief, which reveals itself only at 


long intervals, and without Ms knowledge. If lie 
is spoken to about it, ke denies or evades tke dis- 
cussion, but remains unskaken in kis convictions. 
He kas unbounded confidence in kis pastor, un- 
bounded except upon tkis one subject, tkat migkt 
not inappropriately be called kis secret religion. 
Hence tkat taciturnity and reserve wkick, in all 
our provinces, is tke most marked ckaracteristic 
of tke peasant, and wkick ke never for a moment 
lays aside towards tke class ke calls hourgeois; tkat 
impassable barrier between kim and even tke most 
popular and well-intentioned landed proprietor of 
kis district. 

It must not be supposed tkat tkis results mere- 
ly from rudeness and ignorance. Were it so, 
we migkt console ourselves witk tke kope tkat 
tkey will gradually improve and assimilate witk 
tke more enligktened classes. But tkese people 
are precisely like certain savages; at a super- 
ficial glance tkey appear unreflecting and bru- 
tisk, because tkeir exterior is kumble, and tkeir 
ckaracter requires to be studied. But so soon as 
we penetrate, kowever little, into tkeir own circle 
of ideas, tke feelings tkat govern tkeir private 
life, we discover tkat in tkeir obstinate isolation 
from our civilization, tkey are not actuated by a 
feelino: of degradation. Tkeir affections and anti- 


pathies do not arise from mere accidental circum- 
stances, but, on the contrary, are in accordance 
■with, logical reasoning based upon well-defined 
and clearly conceived ideas.' In speaking of their 

' Mr. Gobineau's remarks apply with equal, and, in some 
cases, -with greater force, to other portions of Europe, as I had 
myself ample means for observing. I have always considered 
the character of the European peasantry as the most difficult 
problem in the social system of those countries. Institutions 
cannot in all cases account for it. In Germany, for instance, 
education is general and even compulsory : I have never met a 
man under thirty that could not read and write. Yet, each 
place has its local patois, which no rustic abandons, for it would 
be deemed by his companions a most insufferable affectation. 
I have heard ministers in the pulpit use local dialects, of which 
there are over five hundred in Germany alone, and most of them 
widely different. Together with their patois, the rustics pre- 
serve their local costumes, which mostly date from the Middle 
Ages. But the peculiarity of their manners, customs, and 
modes of thinking, is still more striking. Their superstitions 
are often of the darkest, and, at best, of the most pitiable na- 
ture. I have seen hundreds of poor creatures, males and fe- 
males, on their pilgrimage to some far distant shrine in expia- 
tion of their own sins or those of others who pay them to go in 
their place. On these expeditions they start in great numbers, 
chanting Aves on the way the whole day long, so that you can 
hear a large band- of them for miles. Each carries a bag on 
the back or head, containing their whole stock of provisions for 
a journey of generally from one to two weeks. At night, they 
sleep in barns, or on stacks of hay in the fields. If you con- 
verse with them, you will find them imbued with superstitions 


religious notions awMle ago, I should have re- 
marked what an immense distance there is between 
our doctrines of morals and those of the peasantry, 
how widely different are their ideas from those 

absolutely idolatrous. Yet they all know how to read and 
write. The perfect isolation in which these creatures live from 
the world, despite that knowledge, is altogether inconceivable to 
an American. As Mr. Gobineau says of the French peasants, 
they believe themselves a distinct race. There is little or no 
discontent among them ; the revolutionary fire finds but scanty 
fuel among these rural populations. But they look upon those 
who govern and make the laws as upon different beings, created 
especially for that purpose ; the principles which regulate 
their private conduct, the whole sphere of their ideas, are pecu- 
liar to themselves. In one word, they form, not a class, but a 
caste, with lines of demarcation as clearly defined as the castes 
of India. I have said before that this is not from want of edu- 
cation ; nor can any other explanation of the mystery be found. 
It is not poverty, for among these rustics there are many 
wealthy people, and, in general, they are not so poor as the 
lower classes in cities. Nor do the laws restrain them within 
the limits of a caste. In Germany, hereditary aristocracy is 
almost obsolete. The ranks of the actual aristocracy are daily 
recruited from the burgher classes. The highest offices of the 
various states are often found in possession of untitled men, or 
men with newly created titles. The colleges and universities 
are open to all, and great facilities are afforded even to the 
poorest. Yet these differences between various parts of the 
population remain, and this generally in those localities which 
the ethnographer discribes as strongly tinctured with non- 
Teutonic elements. — IL 


which we attach to the same word.^ With what 
pertinacious obstinacy they continue to look upon 
every one not peasant like themselves, as the peo- 
ple of remote antiquity looked upon a foreigner. 
It is true they do not kill him, thanks to the sin- 
gular and mysterious terror which the laws, in the 
making of which they have no part, inspire them; 
but they hate him cordially, distrust him, and if 
they can do so without too great a risk, fleece him 
without scruple and with immense satisfaction. 
Yet they are not wicked or ill-disposed. Among 
themselves they are kind-hearted, charitable, and 
obliging. But then they regard themselves as a 
distinct race — a race, they tell you — that is weak, 
oppressed, and that must resort to cunning and 
stratagem to gain their due, but which, neverthe- 
less, preserves its pfide and contempt for all others. 
In many of our provinces, the laborer believes 
himself of much better stock than his former lord 

1 A nurse from Tours had put a bird into the hands of her 
little ward, and was teaching him to pull out the feathers and 
wings of the poor creature. When the parents reproached her 
for giving him this lesson of wickedness, she answered: "C'est 
pour le rendre^er." — (It is to make him fierce or high-spirited.) 
This 'answer of 1847 is in strict accordance with the most ap- 
proved maxims of education of the nurse's ancestors in the times 
of Vercingetorix. 


or present employer. Tlie family pride of many 
of our peasants is, to say tlie least, as great as that 
of the nobility during the Middle Ages.^ 

It cannot be doubted that the lower strata of 
the population of France have few features in 
common with the higher. Our civilization pene- 
trates but little below the surface. The great 
mass is indifferent — nay, positively hostile to it. 
The most tragic events have stained the country 
with torrents of blood, unparalleled convulsions 
have destroyed every ancient fabric, both social 
and political. Yet the agricultural populations 
have never been roused from their apathetic indif- 
ference,^ have never taken any other part but that 

• A few years ago, a church-warden was to be elected ia a 
very small and very obscure parish of French Brittany, that 
part of the former province which the real Britons used to call 
the pays Gallais, or Gallic land. The electors, who were all 
peasants, deliberated two days without being able to agree upon 
a selection, because the candidate, a very honest, wealthy, and 
highly respected man and a good Christian, was a foreigner. 
Now, this foreigner was born in the locality, and his father had 
resided there before him, and had also been born there, but it 
was recollected that his grandfather, who had been dead many 
years, and whom no one in the assembly had known, came from 
somewhere else. 

2 This is no exaggeration, as every one acquainted with 
French history knows. In the great revolution of the last ceu- 


to wMcii they were forced. Wlaen tlieir own per- 
sonal and imraediate interests were not at stake^ 
they allowed the tempests to blow by without con- 
cern, without even passive sympathy on one side 
or the other. Many persons, frightened and scan- 
dalized at this spectacle, have declared the pea- 
santry as irreclaimably perverse. This is at the 
same time an injustice, and a very false apprecia- 
tion of their character. The peasants regard us. 
almost as their enemies. They comprehend no- 
thing of our civilization, contribute nothing to it 
of their own accord, and they think themselves, 
authorized to profit by its disasters, whenever they 
can. Apart from this antagonism^ which some- 

tury, the peasantry of France took no interest and no part. In 
the Vendee, indeed, they fought, and fought bravely, for the 
ancient forms, their king, and their feudatory lords. E.very- 
•where else, the rural districts remained in perfect apathy. The 
revolutions since then have been decided in Paris. The emeutes 
seldom extended beyond the vfalls of the great cities. It is a well- 
knovrn fact, that iu many of the rural districts, the peasants did 
not hear of the expulsion of the BoiTrbon dynasty, until years, 
afterwards, and even then had no conception of the natux'C of the 
change. Bourbon, Orleans, Republic, are words, to them, of 
no definite meaning. The only name that can rouse them from 
their apathy, is " Napoleon." At that sound, the Gallic heart 
thrills with enthusiasm and thirst for glory. Hence the 
unparalleled success with which the present emperor has ap- 
ipealed to universal suffrage. — H. 


times displays itself in an active, but oftener in a 
passive manner, it cannot be doubted tliat tbey 
possess moral qualities of a high order, though 
often singularly applied. 

Such is the state of civilization in France. It 
may be asserted that of a population of thirty-sis 
millions, ten participate in the ideas and mode of 
thinking upon which our civilization is based, 
while the remaining twenty-six altogether ignore 
them, are indifferent and even hostile to them, and 
this computation would, I think, be even more 
flattering than the real truth. Nor is France an 
exception in this respect. The picture I have 
given applies to the greater part of Europe. Our 
civilization is suspended, as it were, over an unfa- 
thomable gulf, at the bottom of which there slum- 
ber elements which may, one day, be roused and 
prove fearfully, irresistibly destructive. This is 
an awful, an ominous truth. Upon its ultimate 
consequences it is painful to reflect. Wisdom 
may, perhaps, foresee the storm, but can do little 
to avert it. 

But ignored, despised, or hated as it is by the 
greater number of those over whom it extends its 
dominion, our civilization is, nevertheless, one of 
the grandest, most glorious monuments of the 
human mind. In the inventive, initiatory quality 


it does not surpass, or even equal some of its pre- 
decessors, but in compreliensiveness it surpasses all. 
From this compreliensiveness arise its powers of 
appropriation, of conquest; for, to compreliend is 
to seize, to possess. It Las appropriated all their 
acquisitions, and has remodelled, reconstructed 
them. It did not create the exact sciences, but it 
has given them their exactitude, and has disem- 
barrassed them from the divagations from which, 
by a singular paradox, they were anciently less 
free than any other branch of knowledge. Thanks 
to its discoveries, the material world is better 
known than at any other epoch. The laws by 
which nature is governed, it has, in a great mea- 
sure, succeeded in unveiling, and it has applied 
them so as to produce results truly wonderful. 
Gradually, and by the clearness and correctness of 
its induction, it has reconstructed immense frag- 
ments of history, of which the ancients had no 
knowledge; and as it recedes from the primitive 
ages of the world, it penetrates further into the 
mist that obscures them. These are great points 
of superiority, and which cannot be contested. 

But these being admitted, are we authorized to 
conclude — as is so generally assumed as a matter 
of course — that the characteristics of our civiliza- 
tion are such as to entitle it to the pre-eminence 


among all others? Let us examine wliat are its 
peculiar excellencies. Thanks to tlie prodigious 
number of various elements that contributed to 
its formation, it has an eclectic character which 
none of its predecessors or contemporaries possess. 
It unites and combines so many various qualities 
and faculties, that its progress is equally facile 
in all directions; and it has powers of analysis 
and generalization so great, that it can embrace 
and appropriate all things, and, what is more, 
apply them to practical purposes. In other words, 
it advances at once in a number of different direc- 
tions, and makes valuable conquests in all, but it 
cannot be said that it advances at the same time 
furthest in all. Variety, perhaps, rather than great 
intensity, is its characteristic. If we compare its 
progress in any one direction with what has been 
done by others in the same, we shall find that in 
few, indeed, can our civilization claim pre-emi- 
nence. I shall select three of the most striking 
features of every civilization ; the art of govern- 
ment, the state of the fine arts, and refinement of 

In the art of government, the civilization of 

Europe has arrived at no positive result. In this 

respect, it has been unable to assume a definite 

character. It has laid dov\-n no principles. In 



every countrj over wliich its dominion extends, it 
is subservient to the exigencies of tlie varions 
races which it has aggregated, but not united. In 
England, Holland, Naples, and Eussia, political 
forms are still in a state of comparative stability, 
because either the whole population, or the domi- 
nant portion of it, is composed of the same or 
homogeneous elements. But everywhere else, 
especially in France, Central Italy, and Germany, 
where the ethnical diversity is boundless, govern- 
mental theories have never risen to the dignity of 
recognized truth ; political science consisted in an 
endless series of experiments. Our civilization, 
therefore, being unable to assume a definite poli- 
tical feature, is devoid, in this respect, of that sta- 
bility which I comprised as an essential feat are in 
my definition of a civilization. This impotency 
is not found in many other civilizations which we 
deem inferior. In the Celestial Empire, in the 
Buddhistic and Brahminical societies, the political 
feature of the civilization is clearly enounced, and 
clearly understood by each individual member. 
In matters of politics all think alike ; under a wise 
administration, when the secular institutions pro- 
duce beneficent fruits, all rejoice; when in un- 
skilled or malignant hands, they endanger the 
public welfare, it is a misfortuije to be regretted 


as we regret our own faults ; but no circumstance 
can abate tlie respect and admiration with wliicli 
they are regarded. It may be desirable to correct 
abuses tliat have crept into tliem, but never to re- 
place them by others. It cannot be denied that 
these civilizations, therefore, whatever we may 
think of them in other respects, enjoy a guarantee 
of durability, of longevity, in which ours is sadly 

With regard to the arts, our civilization is de- 
cidedly inferior to others. Whether we aim at 
the grand or the beautiful, we cannot rival either 
the imposing grandeur of the civilization of Egypt, 
of India, or even of the ancient American empires, 
nor the elegant beauty of that of Greece. Centu- 
ries hence — when the span of time allotted to us 
shall have been consumed, when our civilization, 
like all that preceded it, shall have sunk in the 
dim shades of the past, and have become a matter 
of inquiry only to the historical student — some 
future traveller may wander among the forests and 
marshes on the banks of the Thames, the Seine, 
or the Ehine, but he will find no glorious monu- 
ments of our grandeur ; no sumptuous or gigantic 
ruins like those of Philse, of Nineveh, of Athens, of 
Salsetta, or of Tenochtitlan. A remote posterity 


may venerate our memory as their preceptors in 
exact sciences. They may admire our ingenuity, 
our patience, the perfection to which we have car- 
ried inductive reasoning- — not so our conquests in 
the regions of the abstract. In poesy we can be- 
queath them nothing. The boundless admiration 
which we bestow upon the productions of foreign 
civilizations both past and present, is a positive 
proof of our own inferiority in this respect.^ 

' It is not generally appreciated how much we are indebted 
to Oriental civilizations for our lighter and more graceful litera- 
ture. Our first works of fiction were translations or para- 
phrases of Eastern tales introduced into Western Europe by tbe 
returning crusaders. The songs of the troubadour, the many- 
tonied romances of the Middle Ages — those ponderous sires of 
modern novels — all emanated from that source. The works of 
Dante, Tasso, Ariosto, Boccacio, and nearer home, of Chaucer 
and Spenser, are incontestable proofs of this fact. Even Mil- 
ton himself drew from the inexhaustible stores of Eastern 
legends and romances. Our fairy tales, and almost all of our 
most graceful lyric poesy, that is not borrowed from Greece, is 
of Persian origin. Almost every popular poet of England and 
the continent has invoked the Oriental muse, none more success- 
fully than Southey and Moore. It would be useless to allude 
to the immense popularity of acknowledged versions of Oriental 
literature, such as the Thousand and One Nights, the Apo- 
logues, Allegories, &c. What we do not owe to the East, we 
have taken from the Greeks. Even to this day, Grecian mytho- 
logy is the never-failing resource of tlie lyric poet, sind so fami- 


Perhaps the most striking features of a civiliza- 
tion, though not a true standard of its merit, is 
the degree of refinement which it has attained. 
By refinement I mean all the luxuries and ameni- 
ties of life, the regulations of social intercourse, 
delicacy of habits and tastes. It cannot be denied 
that in all these we do not surpass, nor even equal, 
many former as well as contemporaneous civiliza- 
tions. We cannot rival the magnificence of the 
latter days of Eome, or of the Byzantine empire ; 
we can but imagine the gorgeous luxury of East- 
ern civilizations ; and in our own past history we 
find periods when the modes of living were more 
sumptuous, polished intercourse regulated by a 
higher and more exacting standard, when taste 
was more cultivated, and habits more refined. It 
is true, that we are amply compensated by a 
greater and more general diffusion of the comforts 
of life ; but in its exterior manifestations, our civil- 
ization compares unfavorably with many others, 
and might almost be called shabby. 

Before concluding this digression upon civiliza- 

liar has that graceful imagery become to us, that we introduce 
it, often mal-d-propos, even in our colloquial language. 

In metaphysics, also, we have confessedly done little more 
than revive the labors of the Greeks. — H. 


tion, wliiclL has already extended perhaps too far, 
it may not be unnecessary to reiterate the princi- 
pal ideas which I wished to present to the mind 
of the reader. I have endeavored to show that 
every civilization derives its peculiar character 
from the race which gave the initiatory impulse. 
The alteration of this initiatory principle produces 
corresponding modifications, and even total changes, 
in the character of the civilization. Thus our 
civilization owes its origin to the Teutonic race, 
whose leading characteristic was an elevated utili- 
tarianism. But as these races ingrafted their mode 
of culture upon stocks essentially different, the 
character of the civilization has heen variously 
modified according to the elements which it com- 
bined and amalgamated. The civilization of a 
nation, therefore, exhibits the kind and degree of 
their capabilities. It is the mirror in which they 
reflect their individuality. 

I shall now return to the natural order of my 
deductions, the series of which is yet far from 
being complete. I commenced by enouncing the 
truth that the existence and annihilation of human 
societies depended upon immutable and uniform 
laws. I have proved the insufficiency of adventi- 
tious circumstances to produce these phenomena, 
and have traced their causes to the various capa- 


bilities of different human groups; in other 
words, to the moral and intellectual diversity of 
races. Logic, then, demands that I should deter- 
mine the meaning and bearing of the word race, 
and this will be the object of the next chapter. 




Systems of Camper, Blumenbacli, Morton, Carus — Investigations 
of Owen, Vi'olik, Weber — Prolificness of hybrids, the great 
scientific stronghold of the advocates of unity of species. 

It will be necessary to determine first tlie phy- 
siological bearing of the word race. 

In the opinion of many scientific observers, who 
judge from the first impression, and take extremes^ 
as the basis of their reasoning, the groups of the 
human family are distinguished by differences so 
radical and essential, that it is impossible to be- 
lieve them all derived from the same stock. They, 
therefore, suppose several other genealogies besides 
that of Adam and Eve. According to this doc- 
trine, instead of but one species in the genus homo^ 
there would be three, four, or even more, entirely 

' M. Flourens, Eloge de Blumenbach, Memoires de VAcadcmie 
des Sciences. Paris, 1847, p. xiii. This savant justly protests 
against such a method. 


distinct ones, whose commingling would produce 
wliat the naturalists call hybrids. 

General conviction is easily secured in favor of 
this theory, by placing before the eyes of the ob- 
server instances of obvious and striking dissimi- 
larities among the various groups. The critic who 
has before him a human subject with a skin of 
olive-yellow ; black, straight, and thin hair ; little, 
if any beard, eyebrows, and eyelashes; a broad 
and flattened face, with features not very distinct I 
the space between the eyes broad and flat ; the 
orbits large and open; the nose flattened; the 
cheeks high and prominent ; the opening of the 
eyelids narrow, linear, and oblique, the inner angle 
the lowest ; the ears and lips large ; the forehead 
low and slanting, allowing a considerable portion 
of the face to be seen when viewed from above ; 
the head of somewhat a pjrramidal form ; the limbs 
clumsy ; the stature humble ; the whole conforma- 
tion betraying a marked tendency to obesity •} the 
critic who examines this specimen of humanity, 
at once recognizes a well characterized and clearly 

• For the description of types in this and other portions of 
this chapter, I am indebted to 

M. William Lawrence, Led. on the Nat. Hist, of 3Tan. 
London, 1844. But especially to the learned 

James Cowles Pkichard, Nat. Hist, of Man. London, 1848. 



defined type, the principal features of which, will 
readily be imprinted in his memory. 

Let us suppose him now to examine another in- 
dividual: a negro, from the western coast of 
Africa. This specimen is of large size, and vigo- 
rous appearance. The color is a jetty black, the 
hair crisp, generally called woolly ; the eyes are 
prominent, and the orbits large ; the nose thick, 
flat, and confounded with the prominent cheeks ; 
the lips very thick and everted; the jaws pro- 
jecting, and the chin receding; the skull assuming 
the form called prognathous. The low forehead 
and muzzle-like elongation of the jaws, give to 
the whole being an almost animal appearance, 
which is heightened by the large and powerful 
lower -jaw, the ample provision for muscular inser- 
tions, the greater size of cavities destined for the 
reception of the organs of smell and sight, the 
length of the forearm compared with the arm, the 
narrow and tapering fingers, etc. " In the negro, 
the bones of the leg are bent outwards ; the tibia 
and fibula are more convex in front than in the 
European ; the calves of the legs are very high, 
so as to encroach upon the hams ; the feet and 
hand, but particularly the former, are flat ; the os 
calcis, instead of being arched, is continued nearly 


in a straiglit line witb. the other bones of the foot, 
which is remarkably broad."^ 

In contemplating a human being so formed, we 
are involuntarily reminded of the structure of the 
ape, and we feel almost inclined to admit that the 
tribes of Western Africa are descended from a 
stock which bears but a slight and general re- 
semblance to that of the Mongolian family. 

But there are some groups, whose aspect is even 
less flattering to the self-love of humanity than 
that of the Congo. It is the peculiar distinction 
of Oceanica to furnish about the most degraded 
and repulsive of those wretched beings, who seem 
to occupy a sort of intermediate station between 
man and the mere brute. Many of the groups of 
that latest-discovered world, by the excessive lean- 
ness and starveling development of their limbs f 
the disproportionate size of their heads ; the ex- 

' Prichard, op. cit., p. 129. 

2 It is impossible to conceive an idea of the scarce human 
form of these creatures, -without the aid of pictorial represen- 
tations. In Prichard's Natural History of Man will be found a 
plate (No. 23, p. 355) from M. d'Urville's atlas, -which may as- 
sist the reader in gaining an idea of the utmost hideousness 
that the human form is capable of. I cannot but believe that 
the picture. ther.e given is considerably exaggerated, but -with 
all due allo-wance in this respect, enough ugliness -will be left to 
make us almost ashamed to recognize these beings as belonging 
to our kind. — H. 


cessive, hopeless stupidity stamped upon their 
countenances; present an aspect so hideous and 
disgusting, that — contrasted with them — even the 
negro of Western Africa gains in our estimation, 
and seems to claim a less ignoble descent than 

We are still more tempted to adopt the conclu- 
sions of the advocates for the plurality of species, 
"when, after having examined types taken from 
every quarter of the globe, we return to the in- 
habitants of Europe and Southern and Western 
Asia. How vast a sujoeriority these exhibit in 
beauty, correctness of proportion, and regularity 
of features ! It is they who enjoy the honor of 
having furnished the living models for the unri- 
valled masterpieces of ancient sculpture. But 
even among these races there has existed, since the 
remotest times, a gradation of beauty, at the head 
of which the European may justly be placed, as 
well for symmetry of limbs as for vigorous mus- 
cular development. Nothing, then, would appear 
more reasonable than to pronounce the different 
types of mankind as foreign to each other as are 
animals of different species. 

Such, indeed, was the conclusion arrived at by 
those who first systematized their observations, and 
attempted to establish a classification ; and so far 


as this classification depended upon general facts, 
it seemed incontestable. 

Camper took the lead. He was not content 
with deciding upon merely superficial appearances, 
but wished to rest his demonstrations upon a 
mathematical basis, by defining, anatomically, the 
distinguishing characteristics of different types. 
If he succeeded in this, he would thereby establish 
a strict and logical method of treating the subject, 
preclude all doubt, and give to his opinions that 
rigorous precision without which there is no true 
science. I borrow from Mr. Prichard,' Camper's 
own account of his method. " The basis on which 
the distinction of nations^ is founded, says he, may 
be displayed by two straight lines ; one of which 
is to be drawn through the meatus auditorius (the 
external entrance of the ear) to the base of the 
nose; and the other touching the prominent centre 
of the forehead, and falling thence on the most 
prominent part of the upper jaw-bone, the head 
being viewed in profile. In the angle produced 
by these two lines, may be said to consist, not 
only the distinctions between the skulls of the 

J Op. cit., p. 111. 

2 It -will be observed that Prichard and Camper, and further 
on Blumenbacb, here use the word nation as synonymous to race. 
See my introduction, p. 65. — H. 



several species of animals, but also those wliicli 
are found to exist between different nations ; and 
it might be concluded that nature has availed her- 
self of this angle to mark out the diversities of 
the animal kingdom, and at the same time to es- 
tablish a scale from the inferior tribes up to the 
most beautiful forms which are found in the human 
species. Thus it will be found that the heads of 
birds display the smallest angle, and that it always 
becomes of greater extent as the animal approaches 
more nearly to the human figure. Thus, there is 
one species of the ape tribe, in which the head has 
a facial angle of forty-two degrees ; in another ani- 
mal of the same family, which is one of those 
simiee most approximating in figure to mankind, 
the facial angle contains exactly fifty degrees. 
Next to this is the head of an African negro, 
which, as well as that of the Kalmuc, forms an 
angle of seventy degrees ; while the angle dis- 
covered in the heads of Europeans contains eighty 
degrees. On this difference of ten degrees in the 
facial angle, the superior beauty of the European 
depends; while that high character of sublime 
beauty, which is so striking in some works of 
ancient statuary, as in the head of Apollo, and in 
the Medusa of Sisocles, is given by an angle 
which amounts to one hundred degrees." 


This metliod was seductive from its exceeding 
simplicity. Unfortunately, facts were against it, 
as happens to a good many theories. The curious 
and interesting discoveries of Prof. Owen have 
proved beyond dispute, that Camper, as well as 
other anatomists since him, founded all their ob- 
servations on orangs of immature age, and that, 
while the jaws become enlarged, and lengthened 
with the increase of the maxillary apparatus, and 
the zygomatic arch is extended, no corresponding 
increase of the brain takes place. The importance 
of this difference of age, with respect to the facial 
angle, is very great in the simi«. Thus, while 
Camper, measuring the skull of young apes, has 
found the facial angle even as much as sixty -four 
degrees ; in reality, it never exceeds, in the most 
favored specimen, from thirty to thirty-five. 
Between this figure and the seventy degrees of the 
negro and Kalmuc, there is too wide a gap to 
admit of the possibility of Camper's ascending 

The advocates of phrenological science eagerly 
espoused the theory of the Dutch savant. They 
imagined that they could detect a development of 
instincts corresponding to the rank which the ani- 
mal occupied in his scale. But even here facts 
were against them. It was objected that the ele- 


pliant — not to mention numerous other instances — 
whose intelligence is incontestably superior to that 
of the orang, presents a much more acute facial 
angle than the latter. Even among the ape tribes, 
the most intelligent, those most susceptible of 
education, are by no means the highest in Camper's 

Besides these great defects, the theory possessed 
another very weak point. It did not apply to all 
the varieties of the human species. The races 
with pyramidal skulls found no place in it. Yet 
this is a sufficiently striking characteristic. 

Camper's theory being refuted, Blumenhach pro- 
posed another system. He called his invention 
norma verticalis^ the vertical method. According 
to him,^ the comparison of the breadth of the 
head, particularly of the vertex, points out the 
principal and most strongly marked differences in 
the general configuration of the cranium. He 
adds that the whole cranium is susceptible of so 
many varieties in its form, the parts which con- 
tribute more or less to determine the national 
character displaying such different proportions and 
directions, that it is impossible to subject all these 
diversities to the measurement of any lines and 

' Pri chard, op. cit., p. 115. 


angles. In comparing and arranging skulls ac- 
cording to the varieties in their shape, it is prefer- 
able to survey them in that method which presents 
at one view the greatest number of characteristic 
peculiarities, "The best way of obtaining this 
end is to place a series of skulls, with the cheek- 
bones on the same horizontal line, resting on the 
lower jaws, and then, viewing them from behind, 
and fixing the eye on the vertex of each, to mark 
all the varieties in the shape of parts that con- 
tribute most to the national character, whether 
they consist in the direction of the maxillary and 
malar bones, in the breadth or narrowness of the 
oval figure presented by the vertex, or in the flat- 
tened or vaulted form of the frontal .bone." 

The results which Blumenbach deduced from 
this method, were a division of mankind into 
five grand categories, each of which was again 
subdivided into a variety of families and types. 

This classification, also, is liable to many objec- 
tions. Like Camper's, it left out several import- 
ant characteristics. Owen supposed that these 
objections might be obviated by measuring the 
basis of the skull instead of the summit. " The 
relative proportions and extent," says Prichard, 
" and the peculiarities of formation of the different 
parts of the cranium, are more fully discovered 


by this mode of comparison, tlian by any otlier." 
One of the most important results of this method 
was the discovery of a line of demarcation be- 
tween man and the anthropoid apes, so distinct, 
and clearly drawn, that it becomes thenceforward 
impossible to find between the two genera the 
connecting link which Camper supposed to exist. 
It is, indeed, sufficient to cast one glance at the 
bases of two skulls, one human, and the other 
that of an orang, to perceive essential and deci- 
sive differences. The antero-posterior diameter of 
the basis of the skull is, in the orang, very much 
longer than in man. The zygoma is situated in 
the middle region of the skull, instead of being 
included, as in all races of men, and even human 
idiots, in the anterior half of the basis cranii ; and 
it occupies in the basis just one-third part of the 
entire length of its diameter. Moreover, the posi- 
tion of the great occipital foramen is very differ- 
ent in the two skulls ; and this feature is very im- 
portant, on account of its relations to the general 
character of structure, and its influence on the 
habits of the whole being. This foramen, in the 
human head, is very near the middle of the basis 
of the skull, or, rather, it is situated immediately 
behind the middle transverse diameter ; while, in 


the adult cliimpantsi, it is placed in the middle of 
the posterior third part of the basis cranii.^ 

Owen certainly deserves great credit for his ob- 
servations, but I should prefer the most recent, as 
well as ingenious, of cranioscopic systems, that of 
the learned American, Dr. Morton, which has been 
adopted by Mr. Carus.^ 

The substance of this theory is, that individuals 
are superior in intellect in proportion as their skulls 
are larger.^ Taking this as the general rule. Dr. 
Morton and Mr. Cams proceed thereby to demon- 
strate the difference of races. The question to be 
decided is, whether all types of the human race 
have the same craniological development. 

To elucidate this fact. Dr. Morton took a cer- 
tain number of skulls, belonging to the four prin- 
cipal human families — Whites, Mongolians, Ne- 
groes, and North American Indians — and, after 
carefully closing every aperture, except the fora- 
men magnum., he measured their capacity by filling 
them with well dried grains of pepper. The re- 
sults of this measurement are exhibited in the 
subjoined table."* • 

> Op. cit, p. 117. 

^ Carus, Ueber unf/leiche Befdhigung, etc., p. 19. 

» Op. cit., p. 20. 

* As Mr. Gobineau has taken the facts presented by Dr. Mor- 



of skulls 




■White races 

Yellow race. {JJ-^ol-s 

Copper-colored races . . 











The results given in tlae first two columns are 
certainly very curious, but to those in the last two 
I attach little value. These two columns, giving 
the maximum and minimum capacities, differ so 
greatly from the second, which shows the average, 
that they could be of weight only if Mr. Morton 
had experimented upon a much greater number of 
skulls, and if he had specified the social position 
of the individuals to whom they belonged. Thus, 
for his specimens of the white and copper-colored 
races, he might select skulls that had belonged to 
individuals rather above the common herd.^ But 

ton at second hand, and, moreover, had not before him Dr. 
Morton's later tables and more matured deductions, Dr. Nott 
has given an abstract of the result arrived at by the learned 
craniologist, as published by himself in 1849. This abstract, 
and th^aluable comments of Dr. Nott himself, will be found 
in the Appendix, under A. — H. 

' I fear that our author has here fallen into an error which 
his own facts disprove, and which is still everywhere received 
without examination, viz : that cultivation can change the form 
or size of the head, either of individuals or races ; an opinion, 


tlie Blacks and Mongolians were not represented 
by the skulls of their great chiefs and mandarins. 
This explains why Dr. Morton could ascribe the 
figure 100 to an aboriginal of America, while the 
most intelligent Mongolian that he examined did 
not exceed 93, and is surpassed even by the negro, 
who reaches 94. Such results are entirely incom- 

in support of wHch, no facts whatever can be adduced. The 
heads of the barbarous races of Europe were precisely the same 
as those of civilized Europe in our day ; this is proven by the 
disinterred crania of ancient races, and by other facts. Nor do 
we see around us among the uneducated, heads inferior in form 
and size to those of the more privileged classes. Does any one 
pretend that the nobility of England, which has been an edu- 
cated class for centuries, have larger heads, or more intelligence 
than the ignoble ? On the contrary, does not most of the talent 
of England spring up from plebeian ranks ? Wherever civiliza- 
tion has been brought to a population of the white race, they 
have accepted it at once — their heads required no development. 
Where, on the contrary, it has been carried to Negroes, Mon- 
gols, and Indians, they have rejected it. Egyptians and Hin- 
doos have small heads, but we know little of the early history 
of their civilization. Egyptian monuments prove that the early 
people and language of Egypt were strongly impregnated with 
Semitic elements. Latham has shown that the Sanscrit lan- 
guage was carried from Europe to India, and probably civiliza- 
tion with it. 

I have looked in vain for twenty years for evidence to prove 
that cultivation could enlarge a hrain, while it expands the 
mind. The head of a boy at twelve is as large as it ever is, — N. 



plete, fortuitous, and of no scientific value. In 
questions of tlais kind, too much care cannot be 
taken to reject conclusions which are based upon 
the examination of individualities. I am, there- 
fore, unable to accept the second half of Dr. Mor- 
ton's calculations. 

I am also disposed to doubt one of the details 
in the other half. The .figures 100, 88, and 78, 
respectively indicating the average capacity of the 
skull of the white, Mongolian, and negro, follow 
a clear and evident gradation. But the figures 83, 

81, and 82, given for the Mongol, the Malay, and 
the red-skin, are conflicting; the more so, as Mr. 
Carus does not hesitate to comDrise the Mono;ols 
and Malays into one and the same race, and thus 
unites the figures 83 and 81 — by which he re- 
ceives, as the average capacity of the yellow race, 

82, or the same as that of the red-skins. "Where-' 
fore, then, take the figure 82 as the characteristic 
of a distinct race, and thus create, quite arbitrarily, 
a fourth great subdivision of our species. 

This anomaly supports the weak side of Mr. 
Carus's system. The learned Saxon amuses him- 
self by supposing that, just as we see our planet 
pass through the four stages of day, night, morn- 
ing twilight, and evening twilight, so there must 
be four subdivisions of the human species, corre- 


sponding to tliese variations of light. He per- 
ceives in this a symbol,' which is always a danger- 
ous temptation to a mind of refined susceptibilities. 
The white races are to him the nations of day; 
the black, those of night; the yellow, those of 
morning; the red, those of evening. It will be 
perceived how many ingenious analogies may be 
brought forward in support of this fanciful inven- 
tion. Thus, the European nations, by the brilliancy 
of their scientific discoveries and their superior 
civilization, are in an enlightened state, while the 
blacks are plunged in the gloomy darkness of 
ignorance. The Eastern nations live in a sort of 
twilight, which affords them an incomplete, though 
powerful, social existence. And as for the Indians 
of the Western "World, who are rapidly disappear- 
ing, what more beautiful image of their destiny 
can be found than the setting sun? 

Unfortunately, parables are no arguments, and 
Mr. Cams has somewhat injured his beautiful 
theory by unduly abandoning himself to this 
poetical current. Moreover, what I have said 
with regard to all other ethnological theories — 
those of Camper, Blumenbach, and Owen — holds 
good of this : Mr. Carus does not succeed in sys- 

• Carus, op. ciL, p. 12. 


tematizing regularly tlie wliole of the physiolo- 
gical diversities observable in races.' 

The advocates for unity of species have not 
failed to take advantage of this inability on the 
part of their opponents to find a system which 
will include the many varieties of the human 
family ; and they pretend that, as the observations 
upon the conformation of the skull cannot be re- 
duced to a system which demonstrates the original 
separation of types, the different varieties must be 
regarded as simple divergencies occasioned by ad- 
ventitious and secondary causes, and which do not 
prove a difference of origin. 

This is crying victory too soon. The difficulty 
of finding a method does not always prove that 
none can be found. But the believers in the 
unity of species did not admit this reserve. To 
set off their theory, they point to the fact that cer- 

' There are some very sliglit ones, which nevertheless are 
very characteristic. Among this number I would class a cer- 
tain enlargement on each side of the lower lip, which is found 
among the English and Germans. I find this indication of Ger- 
manic origin in several paintings of the Flemish school, in the 
Madonna of Rubens, in the museum of Dresden, in the Satyrs 
and Nymphs of the same collection, in a Lute-player of Mi^ris, 
etc. No cranioscopic method whatever could embrace such 
details, which, however, are not without value in the great 
mixture of races which Europe presents. 


tain tribes, belonging to tbe same race, instead of 
presenting tlie same pbysical type, diverge from it 
very considerably. Tbey cite the different groups 
of tlie mixed Malay-Polynesian family ; and, with- 
out paying attention to the proportion of the ele- 
ments which compose the mixtures, they say that 
if groups of the same origin can assume such 
totally different craniological and facial forms, the 
greatest diversities of that kind do not prove the 
primary plurality of origins.^ Strange as it may 
be to European eyes, the distinct types of the 
negro and the Mongolian are not then demon- 
strative of difference of species; and the differ- 
ences among the human famil}^ must be ascribed 
simply to certain local causes operating during a 
greater or less lapse of time.^ 

' Prichard, op. cit., p. 329. 

2 Job Ludolf, whose facilities of observation must necessarily 
have been very defective when compared with those we enjoy 
at the present day, nevertheless combats in very forcible lan- 
guage, and with arguments — so far as concerns the negro — 
invincible, the opinion here adopted by Mr. Prichard. I cannot 
refrain from quoting him in this place, not for any novelty con- 
tained in his arguments, but to show their very antiquity : " De 
nigx'edine ^thiopum hie agere nostri non est instituti, plerique 
ardoribus soils atquce zonae torridos id tribuant. Verum etiam 
intra solis orbitam populi dantur, si non plane albi, saltem non 
prorsus nigri. Multi extra utrumque tropicum a media mundi 



Tlie advocates for tlie plurality of races, being 
met witli so many objections, good as well as bad, 
have attempted to enlarge tlie circle of their argu- 
ments, and, ceasing to make tlie skull tbeir only 
study, have proceeded to the examination of tlie 
entire individual. Tbey have riglitly sbown tbat 
tke differences do not exist merely in tlie aspect 
of tbe face and formation of tbe skull, but, what 
is no less important, tbey exist also in tlie shape 
of tke pelvis, tlie relative proportion of tbe limbs, 
and tlie nature of tbe pilous system. 

Camper and other naturalists had long since 
perceived that the pelvis of the negro presented 
certain peculiarities. Dr. Yrolik extended his re- 
searches further, and observed that in the Euro- 
pean race the differences between the male -and 
female pelvis are much less distinctly marked, 
while the pelvis of the negro, of either sex, par- 
takes in a very striking degree of the animal cha- 

linea longius absunt quam Persse aut Syri, Teluti pramontorii 
Bonas Spei laabitantes, et tamen iste sunt nigerrimi. Si Africse 
tantum et Chami posteris id inspectari velis, Malabares et Cei- 
lonii aliique remotiores Asia3 populi seqne nigri excipiendi 
erunt. Quod si causam ad coeli solique naturam referas, non 
homines albi in illis regionibus renascentes non nigrescunt ? Aut 
qui ad occultas qualitates confugiunt, melius fecerint si sese 
nescire fateantur." — Jobus Ltjdolfus, Commentarium ad Histo- 
riam ^thiopicam, fol. Norimb. p. 56. 


racter. Tlie Amsterdam savant, starting from the 
idea that the formation of the pelvis necessarily 
influences that of the foetus, concludes that there 
must be difference of origin.^ 

Mr. Weber has attacked this theory with but 
little success. He was obliged to allow that cer- 
tain formations of the pelvis occur more frequently 
in one race than in another ; and all he could do, 
was to show that the rule is not without exceptions, 
and that some individuals of the American, Afri- 
can, or Mongol race presented the forms common 
among the European. This is not proving a great 
deal, especially as it never seems to have occurred 
to Mr. "Weber that these exceptions might be 
owing to a mixture of blood. 

The adversaries of the unity doctrine pretend 
that the European is better proportioned. They 
are answered that the excessive leanness of the 
extremities among those nations which subsist 
principally on vegetable diet, or whose alimenta- 
tion is imperfect, is not at all surprising ; and this 
reply is certainly valid. But a much less conclu- 
sive reply is made to the argument drawn from 
the excessive development of bust among the 
mountaineers of Peru (Quichuas) by those who 

' Prichard, op. cit., p. 124. 


are unwilling to recognize it as a specific cliarac- 
teristic; for to pretend, as they do, tliat it can be 
explained bj the elevation of the Andes, is not 
advancing a very serious reason.^ There are in 
the world many mountain populations who are 
constituted very differently from the Quichuas.^ 

The color of the skin is another argument for 
diversity of origin. But the opposite party refuse 
to accept this as a specific characteristic, for two 
reasons: first, because, they say, this coloration 
depends upon climatic circumstances, and is not 
permanent — which is, to say the least of it, a 
very bold assertion; secondly, because color is 
liable to indefinite gradations, by which white 
insensibly passes into yellow, yellow into black, 
so that it is impossible to find a line of demarca- 
tion sufficiently decided. This fact simply proves 
the existence of innumerable hybrids ; an obser- 
vation to which the advocates for unity are con- 
stantly inattentive. 

"With regard to the specific differences in the 

' Prichard, op. eit., p. 433. 

2 Neither the Swiss, nor the Tyrolese, nor the Highlanders 
of Scotland, nor the Sclayes of the Balkan, nor the tribes of 
the Himaleh, nor any other mountaineers whateyer, present 
the monstrous appearance of the Quichuas. 


formation of tlie pile, Mr. Flourens brings his great 
authority in favor of the original nnitj of race.^ 

' The distinguished microscopist, Df. Peter A. Browne, of 
Philadelphia, has published the most elaborate observations on 
hair, of any author I have met with ; and he asserts that the 
pile of the negro is wool, and not hair. He has gone so far as 
to distinguish the leading races of men by the direction, shape, 
and structure of the hair. The reader is referred to his works 
for much very curious, new, and valuable matter. — N. 

To those of our readers who may not have the inclination or 
opportunity of consulting Mr. Browne's work, the following 
concise and excellent synopsis of his views, which I borrow 
from Dr. Kneeland's Introduction to Hamilton SmitKs Natural 
History of Man, may not be unacceptable: "There are, on 
microscopical examination, three prevailing forms of the trans- 
verse section of the filament, viz : the cylindrical, the oval, and 
the eccentrically elliptical. There are also three directions in 
which it pierces the epidermis. The straight and lank, the 
flowing or curled, and the crisped or frizzled, difi^er respectively 
as to the angle which the filament makes with the skin on leav- 
ing it. The cylindrical and oval pile has an oblique angle of 
inclination. The eccentrically elliptical pierces the epidermis 
at right angles, and lies perpendicularly in the dermis. The 
hair of the white man is oval ; that of the Choctaw, and some 
other American Indians, is cylindrical; that of the negro is 
eccentrically elliptical or flat. The hair of the white man has, 
beside its cortex and intermediate fibres, a central canal, which 
contains the coloring matter when present. The pile of the 
negi'o has no central canal, and the coloring matter is difi'used, 
when present, either throughout the cortex or the intermediate 
fibres. Hair, according to these observations, is more complex 


I have now passed rapidly in review the more 
or less inconsistent arguments of the advocates of 
unitj; but their strongest one still remains. It is 
of great force, and I therefore reserved it for the 
last — the facility with which the different branches 
of the human family produce hybrids, and the 
fecundity of these hybrids themselves. 

The observations of naturalists seem to have 
well established the fact that half-breeds can 
spring only from nearly related species, and that 
even in that case they are condemned to sterility. 
It has been further observed that, even among 
closely allied species, where fecundation is possi- 
ble, copulation is repugnant, and obtained, gene- 
rally, either by force or ruse, which would lead 
us to suppose that, in a state of nature, the num- 
ber of hybrids is even more limited than that 
obtained by the intervention of man. It has, 
therefore, been concluded that, among the number 
of specific characteristics, we must place the 
faculty of producing prolific offspring. 

in its structure than wool. In hair, the enveloping scales are 
comparatively few, with smooth surfaces, rounded at their 
points, and closely embracing the shaft. In wool, they are 
numerous, rough, sharp-pointed, and project from the shaft. 
Hence, the hair of the white man will not felt, that of the negro 
will. In this respect, therefore, it comes near to true wool" — 
pp. 88, 89.— H. 


As nothing authorizes us to believe that the 
human race are exempt from this law, so nothing 
has hitherto been able to shake the strength of 
this objection,^ which, more than all the others, 
holds the advocates for plurality in check. It is, 
indeed, af&rmed that, in certain portions of Ocean- 
ica, indigenous women, after having brought forth 
a half-breed European child, can no longer be 
fecundated by compatriots. If this assertion be 
admitted as correct, it might serve as a starting 
point for further investigations; but at present it 
could not be used to invalidate the admitted prin- 
ciples of science upon the generation of hybrids — 
against the deductions drawn from these it proves 

' A full ans-wer to this objection will be found in our Ap- 
pendix, under B. — N. 




The language of Holy Writ in favor of common origin — The 
permanency of their characteristics separates the races of 
men as effectually as if they were distinct creations — Arabs, 
Jews — Prichard's argument about the influence of climate 
examined — Ethnological history of the Turks and Hunga- 

The believers in unity of race affirm that types 
are different in appearance only; that, in fact, tlie 
differences existing among them are owing to local 
circumstances still in operation, or to an accidental 
peculiarity of conformation in the progenitor of a 
branch, and that, though they all, more or less, 
diverge from the original prototype, they all are 
capable of again returning to it. According to 
this, then, the negro, the North American savage, 
the ' Tungoose of North Siberia, might, under 
favorable circumstances, gain all the physical and 
mental attributes which now distinguish the Euro- 
pean. Such a theory is inadmissible. 


We have shown above that the only solid scien- 
tific stronghold of the believers in unity of species 
is the prolificness of hnman hybrids. This fact, 
which seems at present so difficult to refute, may 
not always present the same difficulties, and would 
not, by itself, suffice to arrest my conclusions, 
were it not supported by another argument which, 
I confess, appears to me of greater moment : 
Scripture is said to declare against difference of 

If the text is clear, peremptory, and indisputable, 
we must submit; the most serious doubts must 
disappear ; human reason, in its imperfection, must 
bow to faith. Better to let the veil of obscurity 
cover a point of erudition, than to call in question 
so high and incontestable an authority. If the 
Bible declares that mankind are descended from 
the same common stock, all that goes to prove the 
contrary is mere semblance, unworthy of conside- 
ration. But is the Bible really explicit on this 
point ? The sacred writings have a much higher 
purpose than the elucidation of ethnological prob- 
lems ; and if it be admitted that they may liave 
been misunderstood in this particular, and that 
without straining the text, it may be interpreted 
otherwise, I return to my first impression. 

The Bible evidently speaks of Adam as the 


progenitor of the white race, because from Mm 
are descended generations which — it cannot be 
doubted — were white. But nothing proves that 
at the first redaction of the Adamite genealogies 
the colored races were considered as forming part 
of the species. There is not a word said about the 
yellow nations, and I hope to prove, in my second 
volume, that the pretended black color of the 
patriarch Ham rests upon no other basis than an 
arbitrary interpretation. At a later period, doubt- 
less, translators and commentators, who affirmed 
that Adam was the father of all beings called men, 
were obliged to bring in as descendants of the sons 
of Noah all the different varieties with whom they 
were acquainted. In this manner, Japheth was 
considered the progenitor of the European nations, 
while the inhabitants of the greater portion of 
Asia were looked upon as the descendants of 
Shem; and those of Africa, of Ham. This ar- 
rangement answers admirably for one portion of 
the globe. But what becomes of the population 
of the rest of the world, who are not included in 
this classification ? 

I will not, at present, particularly insist upon 
this idea. I dislike the mere appearance of im- 
pugning even simple interpretations if they have 
the sanction of the church, and wish merely to 


intimate tliat their authority might, perhaps, be 
questioned without transgressing the limits estab- 
lished by the church.^ If this is not the case, and 
we must accept, in the main, the opinions of the 
believers in unity, I still do not despair that the 
facts may be explained in a manner different from 
theirs, and that the principal physical and moral 
differences among the branches of the human 
family may exist, with all their necessary conse- 
quences, independently of unity or plurality of 

The specific identity of all canines is acknow- 
ledged,^ but who would undertake the difficult 
task of proving that all these animals, to what- 
ever variety they may belong, were possessed of 
the same shapes, instincts, habits, qualities? The 
same is the case with many other species, the 
equine, bovine, ursine, etc. Here we find perfect 
identity of origin, and yet diversity in every other 
respect, and a diversity so radical, that even inter- 
mixture can not produce a real identity of charac- 
ter in the several types. On the contrary, so long 

' For the arguments -wbich may be deduced from the language 
of Holy Writ, in favor of plurality of origins, see Appendix C. 
— H. 

* Among others, Frederic Cutier, Annates du Museum, vol. 
xi. p. 458. 


as each type remains pure, their distinctive features 
are permanent, and reproduced, without any sensi- 
ble deviation, in each successive generation.' 

This incontestable fact has led to the inquiry 
whether in those species which, by domestication, 
have lost their original habits, and contracted 
others, the forms and instincts of the primitive 
stock were still discernible. I think this highly 
improbable, and can hardly believe that we shall 
ever be able to determine the shape and character- 
istics of the prototype of each species, and how 
much or how little it is approached by the devia- 
tions now before our eyes. A very great number 
of vegetables present the same problem, and with 
regard to man, whose origin it is most interesting 
and important for lis to know, the inquiry seems 
to be attended with the greatest and most insur- 
mountable difficulties. 

Each race is convinced that its progenitor had 
precisely the characteristics which now distinguish 

' The reader will be struck by the remarkable illustration of 
the truth of this remark, which the equine species affords. The 
vast difference between the swift courser, who excites the en- 
thusiasm of admiring multitudes, and the common hack, need 
not be pointed out, and it is as well known that either, if the 
breed be preserved unmixed, will perpetuate their distinctive 
qualities to a countless progeny. — H. 


it. This is tlie only point upon wliicli their tradi- 
tions perfectly agree. The white races represent 
to themselves an Adam and Eve, whom Blumen- 
bach would at once have pronounced Caucasians ; 
the Mohammedan negroes, on the contrary, believe 
the first pair to have been black ; these being cre- 
ated in God's own image, it follows that the Su- 
preme Being, and also the angels, are of the same 
color, and the prophet himself was certainly too 
greatly favored by his Sender to display a pale 
skin to his disciples.^ 

Unfortunately, modern science has as yet found 
no clue to this maze of opinions. No admissible 
theory has been advanced which affords the least 
light upon the subject, and, in all probability, the 
various types differ as much from their common 
progenitor — if they possess one — as they do among 
themselves. The causes of these deviations are 

• A free mulatto, who had received a very good education ia 
France, once seriously undertook to prove to me that the Sa- 
viour's earthly form partook, at the same time, of the character- 
istics of the white and the black races ; in other words, was 
that of a half-breed. The arguments by which he supported 
this singular hypothesis were drawn from theology, as well as 
Scriptural ethnology, and were remarkably plausible and inge- 
nious. I am convinced that if the real opinion of colored 
Chi-istians on this subject could be collected, a vast majority 
would be found to agree with my informant. — H. 



exceedingly difficult to ascertain. The believers 
in the unity of origin pretend to find them, as I re- 
marked before, in various local circumstances, such 
as climate, habits, &c. It is impossible to coincide 
with such an opinion, for, although these circum- 
stances have always existed, they have not, within 
historical times, produced such alterations in the 
races which were exposed to their influence as to 
make it even probable that they were the causes 
of so vast and radical a dissimilarity as we now 
see before us. Suppose two tribes, not yet de- 
parted from the primitive type, to inhabit, one an 
alpine region in the interior of a continent, the 
other some isolated isle in the immensity of the 
ocean. Their atmospheric and alimentary condi- 
tions would, of course, be totally different. If we 
further suppose one of these tribes to be abund-- 
antly provided with nourishment, and the other 
possessing but precarious means of subsistence; 
one to inhabit a cold latitude, and the other to be 
exposed to the action of a tropical sun ; it seems 
to me that we have accumulated the most essential 
local contrasts. Allowing these physical causes to 
operate a sufficient lapse of time, the two groups 
would, no doubt, ultimately assume certain pecu- 
liar characteristics, by which they might be dis- 
tinguished from each other. But no imaginable 


length of time could bring about any essential, 
organic change of conformation; and as a proof 
of this assertion, I would point to the populations 
of opposite portions of the globe, living under 
physical conditions the most widely different, who, 
nevertheless, present a perfect resemblance of type. 
The Hottentots so strongly resemble the inhabit- 
ants of the Celestial Empire, that it has even been 
supposed, though without good reasons, that they 
were originally a Chinese colony. A great simi- 
larity exists between the ancient Etruscans, whose 
portraits have come down to us, and the Arauca- 
nians of South America. The features and out- 
lines of the Cherokees seem to be perfectly identi- 
cal with those of several Italian populations, the 
Calabrians, for instance. The inhabitants of Au- 
vergne, especially the female portion, much more 
nearly resemble in physiognomy several Indian 
tribes of North America than any European na- 
tion. Thus we see that in very different climes, 
and under conditions of life so very dissimilar, 
nature can reproduce the same forms. The pecu- 
liar characteristics which now distinguish the dif- 
ferent types cannot, therefore, be the effects of 
local circumstances such as now exist.' 

• Our author here gives evidence of a want of critical study 
of races — the resemblances he has traced do not exist. There 


Thougli it is impossible to ascertain what phy- 
sical changes different branches of the human 
family may have undergone anterior to the his- 
toric epoch, yet we have the best proofs that since 
then, no race has changed its peculiar character- 
istics. The historic epoch comprises about one 
half of the time during which our earth is sup- 
posed to have been inhabited, and there are seve- 
ral nations whom we can trace up to the verge of 
ante-historic ages ; yet we find that the races then 
known have remained the same to our days, even 
though they ceased to inhabit the same localities, 
and consequently were no longer exposed to the 
influence of the same external conditions. 

"Witness the Arabs. As they are represented 
on the monuments of Egypt, so we find them at 
present, not only in the arid deserts of their native 
land, but in the fertile regions and moist climate 
of Malabar, Coromandel, and the islands of the 
Indian Ocean. "We find them again, though more 
mixed, on the northern coasts of Africa, and, al- 
though many centuries have elapsed since their 
invasion, traces of Arab blood are still discernible 

is no type in Africa south of the equator, or among the abo- 
rigines of America, that bears any resemblance to any race in 
Europe or Asia. — N. 

PEflMANllircif OF TYPES. 845 

in some portions of Roussillon, Languedoc, and 


Next to the Arabs I would instance tlie Jews. 
They have emigrated to countries in every respect 
the most dissimilar to Palestine, and have not 
even preserved their ancient habits of life. Yet 
their type has always remained peculiar and the 
same in every latitude and under every physical 
condition. The warlike Eechabites in the deserts 
of Arabia present to us the same features as our 
own peaceable Jews. I had occasion not long 
since to examine a Polish Jew. The cut of his 
face, and especially his eyes, perfectly betrayed 
his origin. This inhabitant of a northern zone, 
whose direct ancestors for several generations had 
lived among the snows and ice of an inhospitable 
clime, seemed to have been tanned but the day 
before, by the ardent rays of a Syrian sun. The 
same Shemitic face which the Egyptian artist re- 
presented some four thousand or more years ago, 
we recognize daily around us; and its princi- 
pal and really characteristic features are equally 
strikingly preserved under the most diverse cli- 
matic circumstances. But the resemblance is not 
confined to the face only, it extends to the confor- 
mation of the limbs and the nature of the tem- 
perament. German Jews are generally smaller 


and more slender in stature than tlie European 
nations among wLiom they have lived for cen- 
turies; and the age of puberty arrives earlier 
with them than with their compatriots of another 

This is, I am aware, an assertion diametrically 
opposed to Mr. Prichard's opinions. This cele- 
brated physiologist, in his zeal to prove the unity 
of species, attempts to prove that, the age of pu- 
berty in both sexes is the same everywhere and 
among all races. His arguments are based upon 
the precepts of the Old Testament and the Koran, 
by which the marriageable age of women is fixed 
at fifteen, and even eighteen, according to Abou- 

I hardly think that biblical testimony is ad- 
missible in matters of this kind, because the Scrip- 
tures often narrate facts which cannot be accounted 
for by the ordinary laws of nature. Thus, the 
pregnancy of Sarah at an extreme old age, and 
when Abraham himself was a centenarian, is an 
event upon which no ordinary course of reasoning 
could be based. As for the precepts of the Mo- 

* Miiller, Handbuch der Physiologie des 3Ienschen, vol. ii. p. 
^ Prichard, op. cit., pp. 484, 485. 


hammedan law, I would observe that they were 
intended to insure not merely the physical aptitude 
for marriage, but also that degree of mental ma- 
turity and education which befit a woman about 
to enter on the duties of so serious a station. The 
prophet makes it a special injunction that the reli- 
gious education of young women should be con- 
tinued to the time of their marriage. Taking this 
view, the lawgiver would naturally incline to delay 
the period of marriage as long as possible, in order 
to afford time for the development of the reasoning 
faculties, and he would therefore be less precipitate 
in his authorizations than nature in hers. But 
there are some other proofs which I would adduce 
against Mr. Prichard's grave arguments, which, 
though of less weighty character, are not the less 
conclusive, and will settle the question, I think, in 
my favor. 

Poets, in their tales of love, are mainly solicitous 
of exhibiting their heroines in the first bloom of 
beauty, without caring much about their moral and 
mental development. Accordingly, we find that 
oriental poets have always made their lovers much 
younger than the age prescribed by the Koran. 
Zelika and Leila are not, surely, fourteen years 
old. In India, this difference is still more striking. 
Sacontala, in Europe, would be quite a small girl. 


a mere child. Tlie spring-time of life for a Hindoo 
female is from tlie age of nine to tliat of twelve. 
In tlie Chinese romance, Yu-Kiao-Ii, tlie heroine is 
sixteen ; and her father is in great distress, and 
laments pathetically that at so advanced an age 
she should still be unmarried. The Eoman %vrit- 
ers, following in the footsteps of their Greek pre- 
ceptors, took fifteen as the period of bloom of a 
woman's life ; our own authors for a long time ad- 
hered to these models, but since the ideas of the 
!N'orth have begun to exert their influence upon 
our literature, the heroines of our novels are full- 
grown joung ladies of eighteen, and very often 

But arguments of a more serious character are 
by no means wanting. Besides what I said of the 
precocity of the Jews in Germany, I may point 
out the reverse as a peculiarity of the population 
of many portions of Switzerland. Among them 

* An exception, however, must be made in the case of Sliak- 
Bpeare, Tvliile painting on an Italian canvas. In Romeo and 
Juliet, Capulet says: — 

" My child is yet a stranger in the ■world, 
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years ; 
Let two more summers wither in their pride, 
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride." 
To which Paris answers : — 

"Younger than she are happy mothers made." 


the physical development is so slow, that the age 
of puberty is not always attained at twenty. The 
Zingaris, or gypsies, display the same physical 
precocity as their Hindoo ancestry, and, under the 
austere sky of Eussia and Moldavia, they preserve, 
together with their ancient notions and habits, the 
general aspect of face and form of the Pariahs.* 

I do not, however, wish to attack Mr. Prichard 
upon all points. There is one of his conclusions 
which I readily adopt, viz.: '■'■that the difference of 
climate occasions very little, if any, important diver- 
sity as to the periods of life and the physical changes 
to lohich the human constitution is subject."^ This 
conclusion is very well founded, and I shall not 

' According to M. KrapflF, a Protestant minister in Eastern 
Africa, among tlie Wanikos both sexes marry at the age of twelve. 
{^Zeitsckrift d^r deutscheii morgenldndischen Gesellschafl, vol. iii. 
p. 317.) In Paraguay, the Jesuits had established the custom, 
which subsists to this day, of marrying their neophytes, the 
girls at the age of ten, the boys at that of thirteen. It is not 
rare to find, in that country, widowers and widows eleven and 
twelve years old. (A. d'Orbignt, L' Homme Americain, vol. i. p. 
40.) In Southern Brazil, females marry at the age of ten and 
eleven. Menstruation there begins also at a very early age, and 
ceases equally early. (Maetius and Spix, Reise in Brasilien, 
vol. i. p. 382.) I might increase the number of similar quota- 
tions indefinitely. 

2 Prichard, op. cil., p. 486. 



seek to invalidate it; but it appears to me that it 
contradicts a little the principles so ably advocated 
by the learned physiologist and antiqnary. 

The reader must have perceived that the dis- 
cussion turns solely upon permanency of type. If 
it can be proved that the different branches of the 
human family are each possessed of a certain indi- 
viduality which, is independent of climate and the 
lapse of ages, and can be effaced only by inter- 
mixture, the question of origin is reduced to 
little importance; for, in that case, the different 
types are no less completely and irrevocably sepa- 
rated than if their speciiic differences arose from, 
diversity of origin. 

That such is the case, we have already proved 
by the testimony of Egyptian sculptures with re- 
gard to the Arabs, and by our observations upon 
the Jews and gypsies. Should any further proofs 
be needed, we would mention that the paintings 
in the temples and subterraneous buildings of the 
!N'ile valley as indubitably attest the permanence 
of the negro type. There we see the same crisped 
hair, prognathous skull, and thick lips. The recent 
discovery of the bas-reliefs of Khorsabad^ has re- 
moved "beyond doubt the conclusions previously 

' Botta, Monununs de Xinke. Paris, 1850. 


formed from tlie figured monuments of Perse- 
polis, viz. : that tlie present Assyrian nations are 
pliysiologically identical "^itli those who formerly 
inhabited the same regions. 

If similar investigations could be made upon a 
greater number of existing races, the results would 
be the same. "We have established the fact of per- 
manence of tj^es in all cases where investigation 
is possible, and the burden of proof, therefore, falls 
upon the dissenting party. 

Their arguments, indeed, are in direct contradic- 
tion to the most obvious facts. Thus they allege, 
although the most ordinary observation shows the 
contrary, that climate has produced alterations in 
the Jewish type, inasmuch as many light-haired, 
blue-eyed Jews are found in Germany. For this 
argument to be of any weight in their position, 
the advocates for unity of race must recognize cli- 
mate to be the sole, or at least principal, cause of 
this phenomenon. But the adherents of that doc- 
trine elsewhere assert that the color of the eyes, 
hair, and skin, no ways depends upon geographical 
situation or the action of heat and cold.^ As an 

• Edinburgh Review, "Ethnology, or the Science of Races," 
Oct. 1844, p. 144, et passim. "There is probably no evidence 
of original diversity of race which is so generally and unhesi- 
tatingly relied upon as that derived from the color of the skin 


evidence of tMs, they justly cite the Cinghalese, 
who have blue eyes and light hair;^ they even 
observe among them a very considerable difference 
of complexion, varying from a light brown to 
black. Again, they admit that the Samoiedes and 
Tungusians, though living on the borders of the 
Frozen Ocean,^ have an exceedingly swarthy com- 
plexion. If, therefore, climate exerts no influence 
upon the complexion and color of hair and eyes, 
these marks must be considered ^s of no import- 
ance, or as pertaining to race. We know that red 
hair is not at all uncommon in the East, and at no 
time has been so ; it cannot, therefore, create much 
surprise if we occasionally find it among the Jews 

and the character of the hair; . . . but it will not, we think, 
stand the test of serious examination. . . . Among the Kabyles 
of Algiers and Tunis, the Tuarites of Sahara, the Shelahs or 
mountaineers of Southern Morocco, and other people of the 
same race, there are very considerable differences of com- 
plexion." (p. 448.) 

' Ibid., loc. cit., p. 453. " The Cinghalese are described by 
Dr. Davy as varying in color from light brown to black, the 
prevalent hue of their hair and eyes is black, but hazel eyes 
and brown hair are not very uncommon ; gray eyes and red 
hair are occasionally seen, though rarely, and sometimes the 
light-blue or red eye and flaxen hair of the albino." 

2 Ibid., loc. cit. "The Samoiedes, Tungusians, and others 
living on the borders of the Icy Sea, have a dirty-brown or 
swarthy complexion." 


of Germany. This fact cannot be adduced as evi- 
dence either in favor of, or against, tlie permanence 
of types. 

The advocates for unity are no less unfortunate 
in their historical arguments. They furnish but 
two ; the Turks and the Magyars. The Asiatic 
origin of the former is supposed to be established 
beyond doubt, as well as of their intimate relation- 
ship with the Finnic branches of the Laplanders 
and Ostiacs. It follows from this that they must 
originally have displayed the yellow skin, project- 
ing cheek bones, and low stature of the Mongolian 
races. This point being settled, we are told to look 
at the Turks of our day, who exhibit all the cha- 
racteristics of the European type. Types, then, 
are not permanent, it is victoriously concluded, 
because the Turks have undergone such a trans- 
formation. " It is true," say the adherents of the 
unity school, " that some pretend there had been 
an admixture of Greek, Georgian, and Circassian 
blood. But this admixture can have taken place 
only to a very limited extent; all Turks are not 
rich enough to buy their wives in the Caucasus, or 
to have seraglios filled with white slaves ; on the 
other hand, the hatred which the Greeks cherish 
for their conquerors, and the religious antipathies 
of both nations, were not favorable to alliances 


between them, and consequently we see them — 
though inhabiting the same country — as distinct 
at this day as at the time of the conquest."^ ■ 

These arguments are more specious than solid. 
In the first place, I am greatly disposed to doubt 
the Finnic origin of the Turkish race, because the 
only evidence that has hitherto been produced in 
favor of this supposition is afi&nity of language, 
and I shall hereafter give my reasons for believing 
this argument — when unsupported by any other — 
as extremely unreliable, and open to doubt. But 
even if we suppose the ancestors of the Turkish 
nation to belong to the yellow race, it is easy to 
show why their descendants have so widely de- 
parted from that type. 

Centuries elapsed from the time of the first ap- 
pearance of the Turanian hordes to the day which 
saw them the masters of the city of Constantino, 
and during that period, multifarious events took 
place ; the fortune of the Western Turks has been 
a checkered one. Alternately conquerors or con- 
quered, masters or slaves, they have become incor- 
porated Avith various nationalities. According to 
the annalists,^ their Orghuse ancestors, who de- 

* Edinburgh KeTiew, p. 439, 

' Hammer, Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches, vol. i. p. 2. 
{History of the Ottoman Empire.) 


scended from the Altai Mountains, inhabited in 
Abraham's time the immense steppes of Upper 
Asia which extend from Katai to the sea of Aral, 
from Siberia to Thibet, and which, as has recently 
been proved — were then the abode of numerous 
Germanic tribes.^ It is a singular circumstance, 
that the first mentioning by Oriental writers of the 
tribes of Turkestan is in celebrating them for 
their beauty of face and form.^ The most extra- 
vagant hyperboles are lavished on them without 
reserve, and as these writers had before their eyes 
the handsomest types of the old world with which 
to compare them, it is not probable that they 
should have wasted their enthusiasm on creatures 
so ugly and repulsive as are generally the races of 

• Ritter, Erdkunde Asien, yol. i. p. 433, et passim, p. 1115, 
etc. Lassen, Zeitschrift fur die Kunde des Morgenlandes, vol. ii. 
p. 65. Benfey, Encyclopsedie, by Ersch and Gruber, Indien, p. 
12. Alexander Von Humboldt, speaking of this fact, styles it 
one of the most important discoveries of our times. [Asie Cen- 
irale, vol. ii. p. 649.) With regard to its bearings upon histori- 
cal science, nothing can be more true. 

2 Nouschirwan, whose reign falls in the first half of the sixth 
century of our era, married Scharouz, the daughter of the Kha- 
kan of the Turks. She was the most beautiful woman of her 
time. (Haneberg, Zeitschr. f. d. K. des Morgenl., vol. i. p. 187.) 
This is by no means an isolated instance; Schahnamch fur- 
nishes a number of similar ones. 


pure Mongolian blood. Thus, notwithstanding 
the dicta of philology, I think serious doubts 
might be raised on that point.' 

But I am willing to admit that the Turcomannic 
tribes were, indeed, as is supposed, of Finnic origin. 
Let us come down to a later period — the Moham- 
medan era. We then find these tribes under vari- 
ous denominations and in equally various situa- 
tions, dispersed over Persia and Asia Minor. The 
Osmanli were not yet existing at that time, and 
their predecessors, the Seldjuks, were already 

' The Scythes, though having adopted a language of the 
Arian classes, were, nevertheless, a Mongolian nation; there 
would, therefore, be nothing very surprising if the Orghuses 
had been an Arian nation, though speaking a Finnic dialect. 
This hypothesis is singularly corroborated by a passage in the 
relations of the traveller Rubruquis, who was sent by St. Louis 
as ambassador to the sovereign of the Mongols. *' I was struck," 
says the worthy monk, "with the prince's resemblance to the 
deceased M. John de Beaumont, whose complexion was equally 
fresh and colored." Alexander Von Humboldt, justly interested 
by this remark, adds: "This physiognomical observation ac- 
quires importance, when we recollect that the monarch here 
spoken of belonged to the family of Tchinguiz, who were really 
of Turkish, not of Mogul origin." And pursuing this trace, the 
great savant finds another corroborating fact: " The absence of 
Mongolian features," says he, " strikes us also in the portraits 
which we possess of the Baburides, the conquerors of India." 
{^Asie Centrale, vol. i. p. 248, and note.) 


greatly mixed with the races that had embraced 
Islamism. "We see from the example of Ghaiased- 
din-Keikosrew, who lived in 1237, that the Seljuk 
princes were in the habit of frequently intermar- 
rying with Arab women. They must have gone 
still further, for we find that Aseddin, the mother 
of one of the Seljuk dynasties, was a Christian. 
It is reasonable to suppose, that if the chiefs of 
the nation, who everywhere are the most anxious 
to preserve the purity of their genealogy, showed 
themselves so devoid of prejudice, their subjects 
were still less scrupulous on that point. Their 
constant inroads in which they ranged over vast 
districts, gave them ample opportunities for cap- 
turing slaves, and there is every reason to believe 
that already in the 13th century, the ancient 
Orghuse branch was strongly tinctured with She- 
mitic blood. 

To this branch belonged Osman, the son of Or- 
toghrul, and father of the Osmanli. But few 
families were collected around his tent. His army 
was, at first, little better than a band of adven- 
turers, and the same expedient which swelled the 
ranks of the first builders of Rome, increased the 
number of adherents of this new Eomulus of the 
Steppes. Every desperate adventurer or fugitive, 
of whatever nation, was welcome among them, 


and assured of protection. I shall suppose that 
the downfall of the Seljuk empire brought to their 
standards a great number of their own race. But 
We have already said that this race was very much 
mixed ; and besides, this addition was insufi6.cient, 
as is proved by the fact that, from that time, the 
Turks began to capture slaves for the avowed pur- 
pose of repairing, by this means, the waste which 
constant warfare made in their own ranks. In 
the beginning of the 14th century, the sultan Ork- 
han, following the advice of his vizier, Khalil 
Tjendereli, surnamed the Black, instituted the 
famous military body called Janissaries.^ They 

' It ^vill be seen that Mr. Gobineau differs, in the date he 
gives of the institution of the Janissaries, from all other Euro- 
pean writers, who unanimously ascribe the establishment of this 
corps to Mourad I., the third prince of the line of Othman. 
This error, into which Gibbon himself has fallen, originated 
with Cantemir : but the concurrent testimony of every Turkish 
historian fixes the epoch of their formation and consecration by 
the Dervish Hadji-Becktash, to the reign of Orkhan, the father 
of Mourad, who, in 1328, enrolled a body of Christian youths 
as soldiers under this name (which signifies, "new regulars"), 
by the advice of his cousin Tchenderli, to whose councils the 
wise and simple regulations of the infant empire are chiefly 
attributed. Their number was at first only a thousand ; but it 
was greatly augmented when Mourad, in 1361, appropriated to 
this service, by an edict, the imperial fifth of the European cap- 
tives taken in the war — a measure which has been generally 


were composed entirely of Christian children cap- 
tured in Poland, Germany, Italy, or the Bizan- 

confounded with the first enrolment of the corps. At the ac- 
cession of Soliman the Magnificent, their efFectiye strength had 
reached 40,000; and under Mohammed IV., in the middle of 
the seyenteenth century, that number was more than doubled. 
But though the original composition of the Janissaries is re- 
lated by every writer who has treated of them, it has not been 
so generally noticed that for more than two centuries and a half 
not a single native Turk was admitted into their ranks, which 
were recruited, like those of the Mamelukes, solely by the con- 
tinual supply of Christian slaves, at first captives of tender age 
taken in war, and afterwards, when this source proved inade- 
quate to the increased demand, by an annual levy among the 
children of the lower orders of Christians throughout the em- 
pire — a dreadful tax, frequently alluded to by Busbequius, and 
which did not finally cease till the reign of Mohammed IV. 

At a later period, when the Krim Tartars became vassals of 
the Porte, the yearly inroads of the fierce cavalry of that nation 
into the southern provinces of Russia, were principally instru- 
mental in replenishing this nursery of soldiers; and Fletcher, 
who was ambassador from Queen Elizabeth to Ivan the Terrible, 
describes, in his quaint language, the method pursued in these 
depredations: "The chief bootie the Tartars seeke for in all 
their warres, is to get store of captives, specially young boyes 
and girles, whom they sell to the Turkes, or other, their neigh- 
bours. To this purpose, they take with them great baskets, 
made like bakers' panniers, to carrie them tenderly; and if any 
of them happens to tyre, or bee sicke on the way, they dash 
him against the ground, or some tree, and so leave him dead." 
{Purchas's Pilgrims, vol. iii. p. 441.) 

The boys, thus procured from various quarters, were assem- 


tine Empire, wlio were educated in tlie Moliam- 
medan religion and the practice of arms. Under 
Mohammed lY., their number had increased to 
140,000 men. Here, then, we find an influx of at 
least half a million male individuals of European 
blood in the course of four centuries. 

But the infusion of European blood was not 
limited to this. The piracy which was carried on, 
on so large a scale, in the whole basin of the Me- 
diterranean, had for one of its principal objects 
the replenishment of the harems. Every victory 
gained increased the number of believers in the 
Prophet. A great number of the prisoners of war 
abjured Christianity, and were henceforth counted 
among the true believers. The localities adjacent 

bled at Constantinople, Tvliere, after a general inspection, those 
■whose personal advantages or indications of superior talent dis- 
tinguished them from the crowd, were set aside as pages of the 
seraglio or Mamelukes in the households of the pashas and other 
officers, whence in due time they were promoted to military 
commands or other appointments : but the remaining multitude 
were giyen severally in charge to peasants or artisans of Turk- 
ish race, principally in Anatolia, by whom they were trained up, 
till they approached the age of manhood, in the tenets of the 
Moslem faith, and inured to all the privations and toils of a 
hardy and laborious life. After this severe probation, they 
were again transferred to the capital, and enrolled in the differ- 
ent odas or regiments ; and here their military education com- 
menced. — H. 


to tlie field of battle supplied as many females as 
the marauding victors could lay hold of. In some 
cases, this sort of booty was so plentiful that it 
became inconvenient to dispose of. Hammer re- 
lates' that, on one occasion, the handsomest female 
captive was bartered for one loot. "When we con- 
sider that the Turkish population of the whole 
Ottoman empire never exceeded twelve millions, 
it becomes apparent that the history of so amalga- 
mated a nation affords no arguments, either for or 
against, the permanency of type. We will now 
proceed to the second historic argument advanced 
by the believers in unity. 

" The Magyars," they say, "are of Finnic origin, 
nearly related to the Laplanders, Samoiedes, and 
Esquimaux, all of which are people of low sta^ 
ture, with big faces, projecting cheek-bones, and 
yellowish or dirty brown complexion. Yet the 
Magyars are tall, well formed, and have handsome 
features. The Finns have always been feeble, un- 
intelligent, and oppressed; the Magyars, on the 
contrary, occupy a distinguished rank among the 
conquerors of the earth, and are noted for their 
love of liberty and independence. As they are 
so immensely superior, both physically and mo- 

' Erdlcunde, Asien, vol. i. p. 448. 



rally, to all the collateral branches of the Finnic 
stock, it follows that they have undergone an 
enormous transformation."^ 

If such a transformation had ever taken place, 
it would, indeed, be astonishing and inexplicable 
even to those who ascribe the least stability to 
types, for it must have occurred within the last 
800 years, during which we know that the com- 
patriots of St. Stephen^ mixed but little with sur- 

* Ethnology, etc., p. 439: "The Hungarian nobility .... 
is proved by historical and philological evidence to have been a 
branch of the great Northern Asiatic stock, closely allied in 
blood to the stupid and feeble Ostiaks, and the untamable Lap- 

2 St. Stephen reigned about the year 1000, nearly one cen- 
tury and a half after the first invasion of the Magyars, under 
their leaders, Arpad and Zulta. He introduced Christianity 
among his people, on which account he was canonized, and is 
now the tutelary saint of his nation. It may not be known to 
the generality of our readers, that the Magyars, though they 
have now resided nearly one thousand years in Hungary, have, 
with few exceptions, never applied themselves to the tillage of 
the soil. Agriculture, to this day, remains almost exclusively 
in the hands of the original (the Slowack or Sclavonian) popula- 
tion. The Magyar's wealth consists in his herds, or, if he owns 
land, it is the Slowacks that cultivate it for him. It is a singu- 
lar phenomenon that these two races, though professing the 
game religion, have remained almost entirely unmixed, and each 
still preserves its own language. — H. 


rounding nations. Bat the whole course of rea- 
soning is based upon false premises, for the Hun- 
garians are most assuredly not of Finnic origin. 
Mr. A. De G^rando^ has placed this fact beyond 
doubt. He has proved, by the authority of Greek 
and Arab historians, as well as Hungarian annal- 
ists and by indisputable philological arguments, 
that the Magyars are a fragment of that great in- 
undation of nations which swept over Europe 
under" the denomination of Huns. It will be ob- 
jected that this is merely giving the Hungarians 
another parentage, but which connects them no 
less intimately with the yellow race. Such is not 
the case. The designation of Huns applies not 
only to a nation, but is also a collective appella- 
tion of a very heterogeneous mass. Among the 
tribes which rallied around the standards of Attila 
and his ancestors, there were some which have at all 
times been distinguished from the rest by the term 
white Suns. Among them the Germanic blood 
predominated.^ It is true, that the close contact 

' Essai Historique sur V Origiiie des Hongrois. Paris, 1844. 

2 It appears that we shall be compelled henceforward to con- 
siderably modify our usually received opinions with regard to 
the nations of Central ^sia. It cannot now be any longer 
doubted that many of these populations contain a very consi- 
derable admixture of white blood, a fact of which our prede- 
cessors in the study of history had not the slightest apprehen- 


"witli the yellow race somewhat adulterated the 
breed; but this very fact is singularly exhibited 
in the somewhat angular and bony facial conforma- 
tion of the Hungarians. I conclude, therefore, 
that the Magyars were white Miins, and of Ger- 
manic origin, though slightly mixed with the Mon- 
golian stock. 

The philological difiiculty of their speaking a 
non-Germanic dialect is not insurmountable. I 
have already alluded to the Mongolian Scyths 
who yet spoke an Arian tongue;* I might, more- 
over, cite the Norman settlers in France who, not 
many years after their conquest, exchanged their 
Scandinavian dialect, in a great measure, for the 
Celto-Latin of their subjects,^ whence sprang that 

sion. Alexander Von Humboldt makes a very important remark 
upon this subject, in speaking of the Kirghis-Kazakes, men- 
tioned by Menander of Byzant, and Constantine Porphyrogene- 
tus ; and he shows conclusively that the Kirghis {x^?X.^t) concu- 
bine spoken of by the former writer as a present of the Turkish 
chief Dithubul to Zemarch, the ambassador of Justinian II., in 
A. D. 569, was a girl of mixed blood — partly white. She is the 
precise counterpart of those beautiful Turkish girls, whose 
charms are so much extolled by Persian writers, and who did 
not belong, any more than she, to the Mongolian race. (Vide 
Asie Centrale, vol. i. p. 237, et passirr^ and vol. ii. pp. 130, 131.) 

1 SchaiFarick, Slawische Alterthumer, vol. i. p. 279, et passim. 

2 Aug. Thierry, Histoire de la Conquite de V Angleterre. Paris, 
1846, vol. i. p. 155. 


singular compound called Norman-Frencli, whicli 
the followers of William the Conqueror imported 
into England, and which now forms an element of 
the English language. 

There is, therefore, no reason to suppose that 
the agency of climate and change of habits have 
transformed a Laplander, or an Ostiak, or a 
Tunguse, or a Permian, into a St. Stephen or a 

Having thus, I think, refuted the only two his- 
torical instances which the believers in unity of 
species adduce, of a pretended alteration of type 
by local circumstances and change of habits, and 
having, moreover, instanced several cases where 
these causes could produce no alteration ; the fact 
of permanency of type seems to me to be incon- 
testably established.^ Thus, whichever side we 

' In my introductory note to Chapters VIII. and IX. (see 
p. 244), I have mentioned a remarkable instance of the perma- 
nency of characteristics, even in branches of the same race. 
An equally, if not more striking illustration of this fact is given 
by Alex. Von Humboldt. 

It is well known that Spain contains a population composed of 
very dissimilar ethnical elements, and that the inhabitants of its 
various provinces differ essentially, not only in physical appear- 
ance, but still more in mental characteristics. As in all newly- 
settled countries, immigrants from the same locality are apt to 
select the same spot, the extensive Spanish possessions on this 



take, whether we believe in original nnitj, or 
original diversity, is immaterial ; the several groups 
of the human species are, at present, so perfectly 
separated from each other, that no exterior influ- 
ence can efface their distinctive peculiarities. The 

continent were colonized, each respectively, by some particular 
province in the mother country. Thus the Biscayans settled 
Mexico ; the Andalusians and natives of the Canary Islands, 
Venezuela ; the Catalonians, Buenos Ayres ; the Castillians, 
Peru, etc. Although centuries have elapsed since these original 
settlements, and although the character of the Spanish Ameri- 
cans must have been variously modified by the physical nature 
of their new homes, whether situated in the vicinity of coasts, 
or of mining districts, or in isolated table-lands, or in fertile 
valleys ; notwithstanding all this, the great traveller and expe- 
rienced observer still clearly recognizes in the character of the 
various populations of South America, the distinctive peculiari- 
ties of the original settlers. Says he : " The Andalusians and 
Canarians of Venezuela, the Mountaineers and the Biscayans 
of Mexico, the Catalonians of Buenos Ayres, evince considera- 
ble differences in their aptitude for agriculture, for the me- 
chanical arts, for commerce, and for all objects connected with 
intellectual development. Uach of these races has preserved, in 
the new, as in the old world, the shades that constitute its national 
physiognomy ; its asperity or mildness of character ; its freedom 
from sordid feelings, or its excessive love of gain ; its social 
hospitality, or its taste of solitude. ... In the inhabitants of 
Caracas, Santa F6, Quito, and Buenos Ayres, we still recog- 
nize the features that belong to the race of the first settlers." 
— Personal Narrative, Eng. Trans., vol. i. p. 395. — H. 


permanency of these differences, so long as there 
is no intermixture, produces precisely tlie same 
physical and moral results as if the groups were 
so many distinct and separate creations. 

In conclusion, I shall repeat what I have said 
above, that I have very serious doubts as to the 
unity of origin. These doubts, however, I am com- 
pelled to repress, because they are in contradiction 
to a scientific fact which I cannot refute — the pro- 
lificness of half-breeds ; and secondly, what is of 
much greater weight with me, they impugn a 
religious interpretation sanctioned by the church. 




Primary varieties — Test for recognizing them ; not always reli- 
able—Effects of intermixture — Secondary varieties — Tertiary 
varieties — Amalgamation of races in large cities — Relative 
scale of beauty in various branches of the human family — 
Their inequality in muscular strength and powers of en- 

[In supervising the publication of this work, I have 
thought proper to omit, in this place, a portion of the 
translation, because containing ideas and suggestions 
which — though they might be novel to a French public 
— have often been laid before English readers, and as 
often proven untenable. This omission, however, em- 
braces no essential feature of the book, no link of the 
chain of argumentation. It extends no further than 
a digressional attempt of the author to account for the 
diversities observable in the various branches of the 
human family, by imagining the existence of cosmogo- 
nal causes, long since effete, but operating for a time 
soon after the creation of man, when the globe was 
still in a nascent and chaotic state. It must be obvious 
that all such speculations can never bridge over the 


wide abyss which separates hypotheses from facts. 
They aiford a boundless field for play to a fertile 
imagination, but will never stand the test of criticism. 
Even if we were to suppose that such causes had effected 
diversities in the human family in primeval times, the 
types thus produced must all have perished in the 
flood, save that to which Noah and his family belonged. 
If these writers, however, should be disposed to deny 
the universality of the deluge, they would evidently 
do greater violence to the language of Holy Writ, than 
by at once supposing a plurality of origins for mankind. 
The legitimate field of human science is the investi- 
gation of the laws now governing the material world. 
Beyond this it may not go. Whatever is recognized as 
not coming within the scope of action of these laws, 
belongs not to its province. We have proved, and I 
think it is generally admitted, that the actual varieties 
of the human family are permanent ; that there are no 
causes now in operation, which can transform them. 
The investigation of those causes, therefore, cannot 
properly be said to belong to the province of human 
science. In regard to their various systems of classi- 
fication, naturalists may be permitted to dispute about 
unity or plurality of species, because the use of the 
word species is more or less arbitrary; it is an expe- 
dient to secure a convenient arrangement. But none, 
I hope, presume ever to be able to fathom the mysteries 
of Creative Power — to challenge* the fiat of the Al- 
mighty, and inquire into his means. — H.J 

In tlie investigation of the moral and intellec- 
tual diversities of races, there is no difficulty so 
great as an accurate classification. I am disposed 


to think a separation into three great groups suffi- 
cient for all practical purposes. These groups I 
shall call primary varieties, not in the sense of 
distinct creations, but as offering obvious and well- 
defined distinguishing characteristics. I would 
designate them respectively by the terms white, 
yellow, and black. I am aware of the inaccuracy 
of these appellations, because the complexion is 
not always the distinctive feature of these groups : 
other and more important physiological traits must 
be taken into consideration. But as I have not 
the right to invent new names, and am, there- 
fore, compelled to select among those already in. 
use, I have chosen these because, though by no 
means correct, they seemed preferable to others 
borrowed from geography or history, and not so 
apt as the latter to add to the confusion which 
already sufficiently perplexes the investigator of 
this subject. To obviate any misconception here 
and hereafter, I wish it to be distinctly understood 
that by "white" races I mean those usually com- 
prised under the name of Caucasian, Shemitic, 
Japhetic ; by " bfack," the Hamitic, African, etc. ; 
by " yellow," the Altaic, Mongolian, Finnic, and 
Tartar. These I consider to be the three cate- 
gories under which all races of the human family 
can be placed. I shall hereafter explain my reasons 


for not recognizing the American Indians as a 
separate variety, and for classing tliem among the 
yellow races.^ 

1 I have already alluded to the classification adopted by Mr. 
Latham, the great ethnographer, -which, though different in the 
designations, is precisely similar to that of Mr. Gobineau. 
Hamilton Smith also comes to the conclusion that, "as there are 
only three varieties who attain the typical standard, we have in 
them the foundation of that number being exclusively abo- 
riginal." He therefore divides the races of men into three 
classes, which he calls " typical forms," and which nearly cor- 
respond to Mr. Gobineau's and Mr. Latham's "primary varie- 
ties." But, notwithstanding this weight of authorities against 
me, I cannot entirely agree as to the correctness of this classi- 
fication. Fewer objections seem to me to lie against that pro- 
posed by Van Amringe, which I recommend to the considera- 
tion of the reader, and, though perhaps out of place in a mere 
foot-note, subjoin at full length. It must be remembered that 
the author of this system, though he uses the word species to 
distinguish the various groups, is one of the advocates for 
unity of origin. (The words Japhetic and Shemitic are also em- 
ployed in a sense somewhat different from that which common 
usage has assigned them.) 


Psychical or Spiritual Character, viz : — 
All the Physical Attributes developed harmoniously. — War- 
like, but not cruel, or destructive. 

Temperament. — Strenuous. 

Physical Character, viz : — 

A high degree of sensibility ; fair complexion ; copious, soft. 


It is obvious that eacli of these groups com- 
prises races very dissimilar among themselves, 
each of which, besides the general characteristics 

flowing hair, often curled, or waving ; ample beard ; small, 
oval, perpendicular face, with features very distinct ; ex- 
panded forehead ; large and elevated cranium ; narrow ele- 
vated nose, distinct from the other features ; small mouth, 
and thin lips; chin, round, full, and somewhat prominent, 
generally equal with the lips. 


The Israelites, Greeks, Romans, Teutones, Sclavons, Celts, 
&c., and many sub-varieties. 


Psychical or Spiritual Character, viz : — 

Attributes unequally developed. Moderately mental — origi- 
native, inventive, but not speculative. Not warlike, but des- 

Temperament. — Passive. 

Physical Character, viz : — 

Medium sensibility; olive yellow complexion; hair thin, 
coarse, and black ; little or no beard ; broad, flattened, and 
triangular face ; high, pyramidal, and square-shaped skull; 
forehead small and low; wide and small nose, particularly broad 
at the root ; linear and highly arched eyebrows ; very oblique 
eyes, broad, irregular, and half-closed, the upper eyelid ex- 
tending a little beyond the lower ; thick lips. 


The Chinese, Mongolians, Japanese, Chin Indians, &c., and 
probably the Esquimaux, Toltecs, Aztecs, Peruvians. 


belonging to the whole group, possesses others 
peculiar to itself. Thus, in the group of black 
races we find marked distinctions : the tribes wdth 

Psychical or Spiritual Character, viz : — 

Attributes generally equally developed. Moderately mental ; 
not originative, or inventive, but speculative ; roving, preda- 
tory, revengeful, and sensual. Warlike and highly destruc- 
Temperament. — Callous. - 

Physical Character. — Sub-medium sensibility ; dark skin, more 
or less red, or of a copper-color tinge ; hair black, straight, 
and strong ; face broad, immediately under the eyes ; high 
cheek-bones; nose prominent and distinct, particularly in 
profile ; mouth and chin, European. 


Most of the Tartar and Arabian tribes, and the whole of the 
American Indians, unless those mentioned in the second 
species should be excepted. 


Psychical or Sjnritual Character, viz : — 

Attributes equally undeveloped. Inferiorly mental ; not 
originative, inventive, or speculative ; roving, revengeful, 
predatory, and highly sensual ; warlike and destructive. 

Temperament. — Sluggish. 

Physical Character. — Sluggish sensibility, approaching to torpor; 
dark or black skin ; hair black, generally woolly ; skull com- 
pressed on the sides, narrow at the forehead, which slants 
backwards; cheek-bones very prominent; jaws projecting; 
teeth obli<iue, and chin retreating, forming a muzzle-shaped 


prognathous skull and woolly hair, the low-caste 
Hindoos of Kamaoun and of Dekhan, the Pela- 
gian negroes of Polynesia, etc. In the yellow 
group, the Tungusians, Mongols, Chinese, etc. 
There is every reason to believe that these sub- 
varieties are coeval; that is, the same causes which 
produced one, produced at the same time all the 

It is, moreover, extremely difficult to determine 
the typical character of each variety. In the 
white, and also in the yellow group, the mixture 
of the sub-varieties is so great, that it is impos- 
sible to fix upon the type. In the black group, 
the type is perhaps discernible ; at least, it is pre- 
served in its greatest purity. 

To ascertain the relative purity or mixture of a 
race, a criterion has been adopted by many, who 
consider it infallible : this is resemblance of face, 

profile ; nose broad, flat, and confused with the face ; eyes 
prominent ; lips thick. 


The Negroes of Central Africa, Hottentots, Cafirs, Australa- 
sian Negroes, &c. ; and probably the Malays, &c. 

Nat. Hist, of Man, p. 73 et passim. 
If the reader will carefully examine the psychical character- 
istics of these groups, as given in the above extract, he will find 
them to accord better with the whole of Mr. Gobincau's theo- 
ries, than Mr. Gobineau's own classification. — H. 


form, constitution, etc. It is supposed that tlie 
purer a race has preserved itself, the greater must 
be the exterior resemblances of all the individuals 
composing it. On the contrary, considerable and 
varied intermixtures would produce an infinite 
diversity of appearance among individuals. This 
fact is incontestable, and of great value in ethno- 
logical science, but I do not think it quite so re- 
liable as some suppose. 

Intermixture of races does, indeed, produce at 
first individual dissemblances, for few individuals 
belong in precisely the same degree to either of 
the races composing the mixture. But suppose 
that, in course of time, the fusion has become com- 
plete — that every individual member of the mixed 
race had precisely the same proportion of mixed 
blood as every other — he could not then differ 
greatly from his neighbor. The whole mass, in 
that case, must present the same general homo- 
geneity as a pure race. The perfect amalgamation 
of two races of the same group would, therefore, 
produce a new type, presenting a fictitious appear- 
ance of purity, and reproducing itself in succeeding 

I imagine it possible, therefore, that a "second- 
ary" type may in time assum? all the character- 
istics of a "primary" one, viz : resemblance of the 


individuals composing it. The lapse of time to 
produce this complete fusion would necessarily be 
commensurate to the original diversity of the con- 
stituent elements. Where two races belonging to 
different groups combine, such a complete fusion 
would probably never be possible. I can illustrate 
this by reference to individuals. Parents of widely 
different nations generally have children but little 
resembling each other — some apparently partaking 
more of the father's type, some more of the mo- 
ther's. But if the parents are both of the same, 
or at least of homogeneous stocks, their offspring 
exhibits little or no variety; and though the child- 
ren might resemble neither of the parents, they 
would be apt to resemble one another. 

To distinguish the varieties produced by a fusion 
of proximate races from those which are the effect 
of intermixture between races belonging to differ- 
ent groups, I shall call the latter tertiary varieties. 
Thus the woolly -headed negro and the Pelagian 
are both "primary" varieties belonging to the same 
group ; their offspring I would call a "secondary" 
variety ; but the hymen of either of them with a 
race belonging to the white or yellow groups, 
would produce a "tertiary" variety. To this last, 
then, belong the i*ulatto, or cross between white 
and black, and the Polynesian, who is a cross be- 


tween the black and tlie yellow.' Half-breeds of 
this kind display, in various proportions and de- 
grees, the special characteristics of both the ances- 
tral races. But a complete fusion, as in the case 
of branches of the same group, probably never 
results from the union of two widely dissimilar 
races, or, at least, would require an incommen- 
surable lapse of time. 

If a tertiary type is again modified by intermix- 
ture with another, as is the case in a cross between 
a mulatto and a Mongolian, or between a Poljme- 
sian and a European, the ethnical mixture is too 
great to permit us, in the present state of the 
science, to arrive at any general conclusions. It 
appears that every additional intermixture increases 
the dif&culty of complete fusion. In a population 
composed of a great number of dissimilar ethnical 
elements, it would require countless ages for a 
thorough amalgamation ; that is to say, so com- 
plete a mixture that each individual would have 
precisely the kind and relative proportion of mixed 
blood as every other. It follows, therefore, that, 

• It is probably a typographical error, that makes Mr. Flou- 
rens [Eloge de Blumcnhach, p. 11) say that the Polynesian race 
■was "a mixture of two others, the Caucasian and the Mongo- 
lian." The Black and the jNIongolian is undoubtedly what the 
learned Academician wished to say. 


in a population so constituted, tliere is an infinite 
diversity of form and features among individuals, 
some pertaining more to one type than another. 
In other words, there being no equilibrium be- 
tween the various types, they crop out here and 
there without any apparent reason. 

We find this spectacle among the great civilized 
nations of Europe, especially ,in their capitals and 
seaports. In these great vortexes of humanity, every 
possible variety of our species has been absorbed. 
Negro, Chinese, Tartar, Hottentot, Indian, Malay, 
and all the minor varieties produced by their mix- 
ture, have contributed their contingent to the popu- 
lation of our large cities. Since the Roman domina- 
tion, this amalgamation has continually increased, 
and is still increasing in proportion as our inven- 
tions bring in closer proximity the various portions 
of the globe. It affects all classes to some extent, 
but more especially the lowest. Among them you 
may see every type of the human family more or 
less represented. In London, Paris, Cadiz, Con- 
stantinople, in any of the greater marts and tho- 
roughfares of the world, the lower strata of .the 
native population exhibit every possible variety, 
from the prognathous skull to the pyramidal : you 
shall find one man with hair as crisp as a negro's ; 
another, with the eyes of an ancient German, or 


the oblique ones of a Chinese; a third, with a 
thoroughly Shemitic countenance; yet all three 
may be close relations, and would be greatly sur- 
prised were they told that any but the purest white 
blood flows in their veins. In these vast gathering 
places of humanity, if you could take the first 
comer — a native of the place — and ascend his 
genealogical tree to any height, you would pro- 
bably be amazed at the strange ancestry at the top. 
It may now be asked whether, for all the various 
races of which I have spoken, there is but one 
standard of beauty, or whether each has one of its 
own. Helvetius, in his De VEs^jrit, maintains that 
the idea of beauty is purely conventional and va- 
riable. This assertion found many advocates in 
its time, but it is at present superseded by the 
more philosophical theory that the conception of 
the beautiful is an absolute and invariable idea, 
and can never have a merely optional application. 
Beheving the latter view to be correct, I do not 
hesitate to compare the various races of man in 
point of beauty, and to establish a regular scale of. 
gradation. Thus, if we compare the various races, 
from the ungainly appearance of the Pelagian or 
Pecherai up to the noble proportions of a Charle- 
magne, the expressive regularity of features of a 
Napoleon, or the majestic countenance of a Louis 


XIY., we shall find in the lowest on the scale a 
sort of rudimentary development of the beauty 
which attracts us in the highest; and in proportion 
to the perfectness of that development, the races 
rise in the scale of beauty.^ Taking the white 

' This may be so in our eyes. It is natural for us to think 
those the most pleasing in appearance, that closest resemble our 
own type. But were an African to institute a comparative scale 
of beauty, would he not place his own race highest, and declare 
that "all races rose in the scale of beauty in proportion to the 
perfectness of the development" of African features ? I think 
it extremely probable — nay, positively certain. 

Mr. Hamilton Smith takes the same side as the author. " It 
is a mistaken notion," says he, "to believe that the standard 
contour of beauty and form differs materially in any country. 
Fashion may have the influence of setting up certain deformities 
for perfections, both at Pekin and at Paris, but they are inva- 
riably apologies which national pride offers for its own defects. 
The youthful beauty of Canton would be handsome (?) in Lon- 
don," etc. 

Mr. Van Amringe, on the contrary, after a careful examina- 
tion of the facts brought to light by travellers and other investi- 
gators, comes to the conclusion that "the standard of beauty in 
.the different species (see p. 371, note) of man is wholly different, 
physically, morally, and intellectually. Consequently, that taste 
for personal beauty in each species is incompatible with the per- 
ception of sexual beauty out of the species." {Op. cit., p. 656.) 
"A difference of taste for sexual beauty in the several races of 
men is the great natural law which has been instrumental in 
separating them, and keeping them distinct, more effectually 


race as tlie standard of beauty, we perceive all 
the others more or less receding from that model. 
There* is, then, an inequality in point of beauty 
among the various races of men, and this inequal- 
ity is permanent and indelible.'^ 

The next question to be decided is, whether 
there is also an inequality in - point of physical 
strength. It cannot be denied that the American 
Indians and the Hindoos are greatly inferior to us 
in this respect. Of the Australians, the same may 
safely be asserted. Even the negroes possess less 
muiscular vigor .^ It is necessary, however, to distin- 

than mountains, deserts, or oceans. This separation has been 
perfect for the whole historic period, and continues to be now 
as wide as it is or has been in any distinct species of animals. 
Why has this been so ? Did prejudice operate four thousand 
years ago exactly as it does now? If it did not, how came the 
races to separate into distinct masses at the very earliest known 
period, and, either voluntarily or by force, take up distinct geo- 
graphical abodes?" [Ibid., pp. 41 and 42.) — H. 

' This inequality is not the less great, nor the less permanent, 
if we suppose each type to have its own standard. Nay, if the 
latter be true, it is a sign of a more radical difference among 
races. — H. 

2 Upon the aborigines of America, consult Martius and Spix, 
Reise in Brasilien, vol. i. p. 259 ; upon the negroes, Pruner, Der 
Neger, eine aphoristische Skizze aus der medicinischen Topographie 
von Cairo. In regard to the superiority in muscular vigor over 
all other races, see Carus, Ueher ungl. Bef., p. 84. 


guisTi between purely muscular force — that wMcli 
exerts itself suddenly at a given moment — and tlie 
force of resistance or capacity for endurancS. The 
degree of tlie former is measured by its intensity, 
that of the other by its duration. Of the two, the 
latter is the typical — the standard by which to 
judge of the capabilities of races. Great muscular 
strength is found among races notoriously weak. 
Among the lowest of the negro tribes, for instance, 
it would not be difficult to find individuals that 
could match an experienced European wrestler or 
English boxer. This is equally true of the Lascars 
and Malays, But we must take the masses, and 
judge according to the amount of long-continued, 
persevering toil and fatigue they are capable of. 
In this respect, the white races are undoubtedly 
entitled to pre-eminence. 

But there are differences, again, among the white 
races, both in beauiy and in strength, which even 
the extensive ethnical mixture, that European na- 
tions present, has not entirely obliterated. The 
Italians are handsomer than the French and the 
Spaniards, and still more so than the Swiss and 
Germans. The English also present a high degree 
of corporeal beauty; the Sclavonian nations a 
comparatively humble one. 

In muscular power, the English rank far above 


all other European nations; but the French and 
Spaniards are greatly superior in power of en- 
durance : they suffer less from fatigue, from priva- 
tions, and the rigors and changes of climate. This 
question has been settled beyond dispute by the 
fatal campaign in Russia. While the Germans, 
and other troops from the North, who yet were 
accustomed to severe cold, were almost totally 
annihilated, the French regiments, though paying 
fearfully dear for their retreat, nevertheless saved 
the greatest number of men. Some have attempted 
to explain this by a supposed superiority on the 
part of the French in martial education and mili- 
tary spirit. But the German ofl&cers had certainly 
as high a conception of a soldier's duty, as ele- 
vated a sentiment of honor, as our soldiers; yet 
they perished in incredibly greater numbers. I 
think it can hardly be disputed that the masses of 
the population of France possess a superiority in 
certain physical qualities, which enables them to 
defy with greater impunity than most other na- 
tions the freezing snows of Russia and the burning 
sands of Egypt. 



The position and treatment of woman among the various races 
of men a proof of their moral and intellectual diversity. 

The reader will pardon me if to Mr. Gobineau's scale 
of gradation in point of beauty and physical strength, 
I add another as accurate, I think, if not more so, and 
certainly as interesting. I allude to the manner in which 
the weaker sex is regarded and treated among the va- 
rious races of men. 

In the words of Van Amringe, "from the brutal New 
Hollander, who secures his wife by knocking her down 
with a club and dragging the prize to his cave, to the 
polished European, who, fearfully, but respectfully and 
assiduously, spends a probation of months or years for 
his better half, the ascent may be traced with unfailing 
precision and accuracy." The same writer correctly 
argues that if any principle could be inferred from analo- 
gy to animals, it would certainly be a uniform treatment 
of the female sex among all races of man ; for animals 
are remarkably uniform in the relations of the male and 
female in the same species. Yet among some races of 
men polygamy has always prevailed, among others never. 
Would not any naturalist consider as distinct species 
any animals of the same genus so distinguished ? This 
subject has not yet met with due attention at the hands of 
ethnologists. "When we hear of a race of men," says 


the same author, "being subjected to the tyranny of 
another race, either by personal bondage or the more 
easy condition of tribute, our sympathies are enjisted 
in their favor, and our constant good wishes, if not our 
efforts, accompany them. But when we hear of hun- 
dreds of millions of the truest and most tender-hearted 
of human creatures being trodden down and trampled 
upon in everything that is dear to the human heart, our 
sympathies, which are so freely expended on slighter 
occasions or imaginary evils, are scarcely awakened to 
their crushing woes." 

With the writer from whom I have already made co- 
pious extracts, I believe that the moral and intellectual 
diversity of the races of men cannot be thoroughly and 
accurately investigated without taking into considera- 
tion the relations which most influence individual as 
well as national progress and development, and which 
result from the position occupied by woman towards 
man. This truth has not escaped former investigators 
• — it would be singular if it had — but they have con- 
tented themselves with asserting that the condition of 
the female sex was indicative of the degree of civiliza- 
tion. Had they said, of the intrinsic worth of various 
races, I should cheerfully assent. But the elevation or 
degradation of woman in the social scale is generally 
regarded as a residt, not a cause. It is said that all 
barbarians treat their women as slaves; but, as they 
progress in civilization, woman gradually rises to her 
legitimate rank. 

For the sake of the argument, I shall assume that 

all now civilized nations at first treated their women 

as the actual barbarians treat theirs. That this is 

not so, I hope to place beyond doubt; but, assuming it 



to be the case, might not the fact that some left off that 
treatment, while others did not, be adduced as a proof 
of the inequality of races ? " The law of the relation of 
the sexes," says Van Amringe, "is more deeply engraven 
upon human nature than any other ; because, whatever 
theories may be adopted in regard to the origin of so- 
ciety, languages, etc., no doubt can be entertained that 
the influence of woman must have been anterior to any 
improveTnents of the original condition of man. Con- 
sequently it was antecedent and superior to education 
and goTernment. That these relations were powerfully 
instrumental in the origin of development, to give it a 
direction and character according to the natures ope- 
rating and operated upon, cannot be doubted by any 
one who has paid the slightest attention to domestic 
influences, from and under which education, customs, 
and government commenced." 

But I totally deny that all races, in their first state 
of development, treated their women equally. There 
is not only no historical testimony to prove that aoiy of 
the white races were ever in such a state of barbarity 
and in such moral debasement as most of the dark races 
are to this day, and have always been, but there is posi- 
tive evidence to show that our barbarous ancestors as- 
signed to woman the same position we assign her now : 
she was the companion, and not the slave, of man. I 
have already alluded to this in a previous note on the 
Teutonic races ; I cannot, however, but revert to it 

As I have not space for a lengthy discussion, I shall 
mention but one fact, which I think conclusive, and 
which rests upon incontrovertible historical testimony. 
"To a German mind," says Tacitus (Murphy's transl.. 


vol. vii. 8), "the idea of a woman led into captivity is 
insupportable. In consequence of this prevailing sen- 
timent, the states which deliver as hostages the daugh- 
ters of illustrious families are bound by the most effectual 
obligations." Did this assertion rest on the authority 
of Tacitus only, it might perhaps be called in question. 
It might be said that the illustrious Roman had drawn 
an ideal picture, etc. But Csesar dealt with realities, 
not idealities ; he was a shrewd, practical statesman, 
apd an able general; yet Caesar did take females as 
hostages from the German tribes, in preference to men. 
Suppose Ceesar had made war against the King of 
Ashantee, and taken away some of his three thousand 
three hundred and thirty-three wives, the mystical num- 
ber being thus forcibly disturbed, might have alarmed 
the nation, whose welfare is supposed to depend on it; 
but the misfortune would soon have been remedied. 

But it is possible to demonstrate not only that all 
races did not treat their women equally in their first 
stage of development, but also that no race which as- 
signed to woman in the beginning an inferior position 
ever raised her from it in any subsequent stage of de- 
velopment. I select the Chinese for illustration, because 
they furnish us with an example of a long-continued 
and regular intellectual progress,^ which yet never re- 

' Because we now find the Chinese apparently stationary, many 
persons unreflectingly conclude that they were always so; which 
would presuppose that the Chinese were placed upon earth with 
the faculty of making porcelain, gunpowder, paper, etc., some- 
what after the manner in which bees make their cells. But in 
the annals of the Chinese empire, the date of many of their prin- 
cipal inventions is distinctly recorded. There was a long period 
of vigorous intellectual activity among that singular people, a 


suited in an alteration of woman's position in the social 
structure. The decadent Chinese of our day look upon 
the female half of their nation as did the rapidly ad- 
vancing Chinese of the seventh and eighth centui'ies ; 
and the latter in precisely the same manner as their, 
barbarous ancestors, the subjects of the Emperor Fou, 
more than twenty centuries before. 

I repeat it, the relations of the sexes, in various 
races, are equally dissimilar in every stage of develop- 
ment. The state of society may change, the tendency 
of a race never. Faculties may be developed, but 
never lost. 

As the mothers and wives of our Teutonic ancestors 
were near the battle-field, to administer refreshments 
to the wearied combatants, to stanch the bleeding of 
their wounds, and to inspire with renewed courage the 
despairing, so, in modern times,, matrons and maidens 
of the highest rank — worthy daughters of a heroic an- 

period during -which good books were written, and ingenious in- 
ventions made in rapid succession. This period has ceased, but 
the Chinese are not therefore stationary. They are retrograding. 
No Chinese workman can now make porcelain equal to that of 
former ages, which consequently bears an exorbitant price as an 
object of virtu. The secret of many of their arts has been lost, 
the practice of all is gradually deteriorating. No book of any 
note has been written these hundreds of years in that great 
empire. Hence their passionate attachment to everything old, 
which is not, as is so generally presumed, the cause of their 
stagnation : it is the sign of intellectual decadence, and the 
brake which prevents a still more rapid descent. Whenever a 
nation begins to extravagantly prize the productions of preced- 
ing ages, it is a confession that it can no longer equal them : it has 
begun to retrograde. But the very retrogression is a proof that 
there once was an opposite movement. 


cestiy — have been found by thousands ready to sacrifice 
the comforts and quiet of home for the horrors of a 
hospital.* As the rude warrior of a former age won his 
beloved by deeds of valor, so, to his civilized descend- 
ant, the hand of his mistress is the prize and reward of 
exertion. The wives and mothers of the ancient Ger- 
mans and Celts were the counsellors of their sons and 
husbands in the most important affairs ; our wives and 
mothers are our advisers in our more peaceful pursuits. 
But the Arab, when he had arrived at the culminating 
point of his civilization, and when he had become the 
teacher of our forefathers of the Middle Ages in science 
and the arts, looked upon his many wives in the same 
light as his roaming brother in the desert had done 
before, and does now. I do not ask of all these races 
that they should assign to their women the same rank 
that we do. If intellectual progress and social develop- 
ment among them showed the slightest tendency to 
produce ultimately an alteration in woman's position 
towards her lord, I might be content to submit to the 

' The fearful scenes of blood which the beginning of our cen- 
tury Tvitnessed, had crowded the hospitals with wounded and 
dying. Professional nurses could afford little help after battles 
like those of Jena, of Eylau, of Feldbach, or of Leipsic. It was 
then that, in Northern Germany, thousands of ladies of the first 
families sacrificed their health, and, in too many instances, their 
lives, to the Christian duty of charity. Many of the noble 
houses still mourn the loss of some fair matron or maiden, who 
fell a victim to her self-devotion. In the late war between Den- 
mark and Prussia, the Danish ladies displayed an equal zeal. 
Scutari also will be remembered in after ages as a monument of 
what the women of our race can do. Eut why revert to the 
past, and to distant scenes ? Have we not daily proofs around 
us that the heroic virtues of by-gone ages still live in ours ? 



opinion of those who regard that position as the effect 
of such a progress and such a development. But I 
cannot, in the history of those races, perceive the slight- 
est indication of such a result, and all my observations 
lead me to the conclusion that the relations between the 
sexes are a cause, and not an effect. 

The character of the women of different races differs 
in essential points. What a vast difference, for instance, 
between the females of the rude crusaders who took 
possession of Constantinople, and the more civilized 
Byzantine Greeks whom they so easily conquered ; be- 
tween the heroic matron of barbarous Germany and the 
highly civilized Chinese lady ! These differences cannot 
be entirely the effect of education, else we are forced 
to consider the female sex as mere automatons. They 
must be the result of diversity of character. And why 
not, in the investigation of the moral and intellectual 
diversity of races and the natural history of man, take 
into consideration the peculiarities that characterize the 
female portion of each race, a portion — I am forced to 
make this trite observation, because so many investi- 
gators seem to forget it — which comprises at least one- 
half of the individuals to be described ? — H. 




Imperfect notions of the c<apability of savage tribes — Parallel 
between our civilization and those that preceded it — Our 
modern political theories no novelty — The political parties 
of Rome — Peace societies— The art of printing a means, the 
results of which depend on its use — What constitutes a 
"living" civilization — Limits of the sphere of intellectual 

To understand perfectly the differences existing 
among races, in regard to their intellectual capacity, 
it is necessary to ascertain the lowest degree of 
stupidity that humanity is capable of. The infe- 
rior branches of the human family have hitherto 
been represented, by a majority of scientific ob- 
servers, as considerably more abased than they are 
in reality. The first accounts of a tribe of savages 
almost always depict them in exaggerated colors 
of the darkest cast, and impute to them such utter 
intellectual and reasoning incapacity, that they 
seem to sink to tlie level of the monkey, and below 


that of tlie elephant. There are, indeed, some con- 
trasts. Let a navigator be well received in some 
island — let him succeed in persuading a few of the 
natives to work, however little, with the sailors, 
and praises are lavished upon the fortunate tribe : 
thej are declared susceptible of every improve- 
ment; and perhaps the eulogist will go so far as 
to assert that he has found among them minds of 
a very superior order. 

To both these judgments we must object — the 
one being too favorable, the other too severe. Be- 
cause some natives of Tahiti assisted in repairing 
a whaler, or some inhabitant of Tonga Tabou ex- 
hibited good feelings towards the white strangers 
who landed on his isle, it does not follow that 
either are capable of receiving our civilization, or 
of being raised to a level with us. Nor are we 
warranted in classing among brutes the poor natu- 
rals of a newly-discovered coast, who greet their 
first visitors with a shower of stones and arrows, 
or who are found making a dainty repast on raw 
lizards and clods of clay. Such a meal does not, 
indeed, indicate a very superior intelligence, or 
very refined manners. But even in the most re- 
pulsive cannibal there lies latent a spark of the 
divine flame, and reason may be awakened to a 
certain extent. There are no tribes so very de- 


graded that tliey do not reason in some degree, 
wlietlier correctly or otherwise, upon the things 
which surround them. This ray of human intelli- 
gence, however faint it may be, is what distin- 
guishes the most degraded savage from the most 
intelligent brute, and capacitates him for receiving 
the teachings of religion. 

But are these mental faculties, which every in- 
dividual of our species possesses, susceptible of 
indefinite development? Have all men the same 
capacity for intellectual progress ? In other words, 
can cultivation raise all the different races to the 
same intellectual standard? and are no limits im- 
posed to the perfectibility of our species? My 
answer to these questions is, that all race's are 
capable of improvement, but all cannot attain the 
same degree of perfection, and even the most 
favored cannot exceed a certain limit. 

The idea of infinite perfection has gained many 
partisans in our times, because we, like all who 
came before us, pride ourselves upon possessing 
advantages and points of superiority unknown to 
our predecessors. I have already spoken of the 
distinguishing features of our civilization, but wil- 
lingly revert to this subject again. 

It may be said, that in all the departments of 
science we possess clearer and more correct no- 


tions ; that, upon the whole, our manners are more 
polished, and our code of morals is preferable to 
that of the ancients. It is further asserted, as the 
principal proof of our superiority, that we have 
better defined, juster and more tolerant ideas with 
regard to political liberty. Sanguine theorists are 
not wanting, who pretend that our discoveries in 
political science and our enlightened views of the 
rights of man will ultimately lead us to that uni- 
versal happiness and harmony which the ancients 
in vain sought in the fabled garden of Hesperides. 

These lofty pretensions will hardly bear the test 
of severe historical criticism. 

If we surpass preceding generations in sci- 
entific knowledge, it is because we have added 
our share to the discoveries which they bequeathed 
to us. "We are their heirs, their pupils, their con- 
tinuators, just as future generations will be ours. 
We achieve great results by the application of the 
power of steam ; we have solved many great pro- 
blems in mechanics, and pressed the elements as 
submissive slaves into our service. But do these 
successes bring us any nearer to omniscience. At 
most, they may enable us ultimately to fathom all 
the secrets of the material world. And when we 
shall have achieved that grand conquest, for which 
so much requires still to be done that is not yet 


commenced, nor even anticipated ; have we ad- 
vanced a single step beyond tlie simple exposition 
of the laws whicli govern the material world? 
We may have learned to direct onr course through 
the air, to approach the limits of the respirable 
atmosphere ; we may discover and elucidate seve- 
ral interesting astronomical problems; we may 
have greater powers for controlling nature and 
compelling her to minister to our wants, but can 
all this knowledge make us better, happier beings ? 
Suppose we had counted all the planetary systems 
and measured the immense regions of space, would 
we know more of the grand mystery of existence 
than those that came before us ? Would this add 
one new faculty to the human mind, or ennoble 
human nature by the eradication of one bad pas- 

Admitting that we are more enlightened upon 
some subjects, in how many other respects are- we 
inferior to our more remote ancestors ? Can it be 
doubted, for instance, that in Abraham's times much 
more was known of primordial traditions than the 
dubious beams which have come down to us ? 
How many discoveries which we owe to mere ac- 
cident, or which are the fruits of painful efforts, 
were the lost possessions of remote ages ? How 
many more are not yet restored ? What is there 


in tile most splendid of our works that can com- 
pare with those wonders by wMch Egypt, India,. 
Greece, and America still attest the grandeur and 
magnificence of so many edifices which the weight 
of centuries, much more than the impotent ra- 
vages of man, has caused to disappear ? What are 
our works of art by the side of those of Athens j 
our thinkers by the side of those of Alexandria 
or India; our poets by the side of a Yalmiki, 
Kalidasa, Homer, Pindar? 

The truth is, we pursue a different direction 
from that of the human societies whose civiliza- 
tion preceded ours. We apply our mind to dif- 
ferent purposes and different investigations; but 
while we clear and cultivate new lands, we are 
compelled to neglect and abandon to sterility those 
to which they devoted their attention. What we 
gain in one direction we lose in another. We 
cannot call ourselves superior to the ancients, un- 
less we had preserved at least the principal acqui- 
sitions of preceding ages in all their integrity, and 
had succeeded in establishing by the side of these, 
the great results which they as well as we sought 
after. Our sciences and arts superadded to theirs 
have not enabled us to advance one step near^ 
the solution of the great problems of existence, 
the mysteries of life and death. "I seek, but find 


not," has always been, will ever be, tlie liumiliat- 
ing confession of science when endeavoring to 
penetrate into the secrets concealed by the veil 
that it is not given to mortal to lift. In criticism^ 
we are, undoubtedly, much in advance of our pre- 
decessors ; but criticism implies classification, not 

Kor can we justly pride ourselves upon any 
superiority in regard to political ideas. Political 
and social theories were as rife in Athens after the 
age of Pericles as they are in our days. To be 
convinced of this, it is necessary only to study 
Aristophanes, whose comedies Plato recommends 
to the perusal of whoever wishes to become ac- 
quainted with the public morals of the city of 
Minerva. It has been pretended that our present 
stracture of society, and that of the ancients, ad- 

' The word crilidsm has here been used by the translator ia 
a sense some-what unusual in the English language, where it is 
generally made to signify " the art of judging of literary or 
artistic productions." In a more comprehensive sense, it means 
the art of discriminating between truth and error, or rather, per- 
haps, betAveen the probable and the improbable. In this sense, 
the word is often used by continental metaphysicians, and also, 
though less frequently, by English writers. As the definition 
is perfectly conformable to etymology, I have concluded to let 
the above passage stand as it is. — IL 



mit of no comparison, owing to the institution of 
slavery which formed an element of the latter. 
But the only real difference is that demagogism 
had then an even more fertile soil in which to 
strike root. The slaves of those days find their 
precise counterpart in our working classes and 
proletarians.^ The Athenian people propitiating 
their servile class after the battle of Arginuses, 
might be taken for a picture of the nineteenth 

Look at Eome. Open Cicero's letters. What a 
specimen of the moderate Tory that great Eoman 
orator was; what a similarity between his republic 
and our constitutional bodies politic, with regard 
to the language of parties and parliamentary de- 
bates ! There, too, the background of the picture 
was occupied by degraded masses of a servile and 
prsedial population, always eager for change, and 
ready to rise in actual rebellion. 

Let us leave those dregs of the population, 
whose civil existence the law ignored, and who 
counted in politics but as the formidable tool of 
designing individuals of free birth. But does not 
the free population of Eome afford a perfect ana- 
logue to a modern body politic ? There is the mob 

' It •will be remembered tliat Mr. Gobineau speaks of Eu- 
rope. — H, 


crying for bread, greedy of shows, flattery, gratui- 
tous distributions, and amusements; tbe middle 
classes {bourgeoisie) monopolizing and dividing 
among themselves the public of&ces ; the heredi- 
tary aristocracy, continually assailed at all points, 
continually losing ground, until driven in mere 
self-defence to abjure all superior claims and sti- 
pulate for equal rights to all. Are not these per- 
fect resemblances ? 

Among the boundless variety of opinions that 
make themselves heard in our day, there is not 
one that had not advocates in Rome. I alluded a 
while ago to the letters written from the villa of 
Tusculum; they express the sentiments of the 
Eoman conservative Progressist party. By the side 
of Sylla, Pompey and Cicero were Radicals.^ Their 
notions were not sufficiently radical for Cassar ; 
too much so for Cato. At a later period we find 
in Pliny the younger a mild royalist, a friend of 
quiet, even at some cost. Apprehensive of too 
much liberty, yet jealous of power too absolute; 
very practical in his views, caring but little for 
the poetical splendor of the age of the Fabii, he pre- 
ferred the more prosaic administration of Trajan. 

' The term "Radical" is used on the European continent to 
designate that party who desire thorough, uncompromising re- 
form : the plucking out of evils by the root. — H. 


There were others not of his opinion, good people 
who feared an insurrection headed by some new 
Spartacus, and who, therefore, thought that the 
Emperor could not hold the reins too tight. 
Then there were others, from the provinces, 
who obstreperously demanded and obtained what 
would now be called " constitutional guaranties." 
Again, there were the socialists, and their views 
found no less an expounder than the Gallic Csesar, 
C. Junius Posthumus, who exclaims: "Dives et 
pauper, inimici," the rich and the poor are enemies 

Every man who had any pretensions to partici- 
pate in the lights of the day, declaimed on the 
absolute equality of all men, their "inalienable 
rights," the manifest necessity and ultimate univer- 
sality of the Greco-Latin civilization, its superior- 
ity, its mildness, its future progress, much greater 
even than that actually made, and above all its 
perpetuity, Nor were those ideas merely the 
pride and consolation of the pagans ; they were 
the firm hopes and expectations of the earliest 
and most illustrious Fathers of the Church, whose 
sentiments found so eloquent an interpreter in 

And as a last touch, to complete the picture, let 


US not forget those people who, then as now, formed 
the most numerous of all parties: those that 
belonged to none — people who are too weak- 
minded, or indifferent, or apprehensive, or dis- 
gusted, to lay hold of a truth, from among the 
midst of contradictory theories that float around 
them — people who are content with order when 
it exists, submit passively in times of disorder 
and confusion ; who admire the increase of con- 
veniences and comforts of life unknown to their 
ancestors, and who, without thinking further, 
centre their hope in the future and pride in the 
present, in the reflection: "What wonderful facili- 
ties we enjoy now-a-days." 

There would be some reason for believing in an 
improvement in political science, if we had in- 
vented some governmental machinery which had 
hitherto been unknown, or at least never carried 
into practice. This glory we cannot arrogate to 
ourselves. Limited monarchies were known in 
every age. There are even some very curious 
examples of this form of government found among 
certain Indian tribes who, nevertheless, have remain- 
ed savages. Democratic and aristocratic republics of 
every form, and balanced in the most varied man- 
ner, flourished in the new world as well as the old. 
Tlascala is as complete a model of this kind as 


Athens, Sparta, or Mecca before Mohammed's times. 
And even supposing that we have applied to go- 
vernmental science some secondary principle of 
our own invention, does this justify us in our ex- 
aggerated pretension to unlimited perfectibility? 
Let us rather be modest, and say with the wisest 
of kings: ^^ Nil novi sub soUr^ 

It is said that our manners are milder than 
those of the other great human societies ; this as- 
sertion also is very open to criticism. There are 
some philanthropists who would induce nations no 
longer to resort to armies in settling their quarrels. 
The idea is borrowed from Seneca. Some of the 
Eastern sages professed the same principles in this 
respect as the Moravian Brethren. But assuming 
that the members of the Peace Congress succeed 
in disgusting Europe with the turmoil and mise- 
ries of warfare, they would still have the difficult 
task left of forever transforming the human pas- 
sions. Neither Seneca nor the Eastern sages have 
been able to accomplish this, and it may reason- 
ably be doubted whether this grand achievement 

' The principles of government applied to practice at the 
formation of our Constitution, Mr. Gobineau considers as iden- 
tical -with those laid down at the beginning of every society- 
founded by the Germanic race. In his succeeding volumes he 
mentions several analojcues. — H. 


is reserved for our generation. We possess pure 
and exalted principles, I admit, but are thej car- 
ried into practice ? Look at our fields, the streets 
of our cities — the bloody traces of contests as 
fierce as any recorded in history are scarcely yet 
effaced. Never since the beginning of our civil- 
ization has there been an interval of peace of fifty 
years, and we are, in this respect, far behind 
ancient Italy, which, under the Eomans, once en- 
joyed two centuries of perfect tranquillity. Bat 
even so long a repose would not warrant us in 
concluding that the temple of Janus was thence- 
forth to be forever closed. 

The state of our civilization does not, therefore, 
prove the unlimited perfectibility of man. If he 
have learned many things, he has forgotten others. 
He has not added another to his senses; his soul 
is not enriched by one new faculty. I cannot too 
much insist upon the great though sad truth, that 
whatever we gain in one direction is counter- 
balanced by some loss in another ; that, limited as 
Js our intellectual domain, we are doomed never to 
possess its whole extent at once. Were it not for 
this fatal law, we might imagine that at some pe- 
riod, however distant, man, finding himself in 
possession of the experience of successive ages, 
and having acquired all that it is in his power to 


acquire, would have learned at last to apply his 
acquisitions to his welfare — to live without battling 
against his kind, and against misery ; to enjoy a 
state, if not of unalloyed happiness, at least of 
abundance and peace. 

But even so limited a felicity is not promised 
us here below, for in proportion as man learns he 
unlearns ; whatever he acquires, is at the cost of 
some previous acquisition ; whatever he possesses 
he is always in danger of losing. 

We flatter ourselves with the belief that our 
civilization is imperishable, because we possess the 
art of printing, gunpowder, the steam engine, &c. 
These are valuable means to accomplish great 
results, but the accomplishment depends on their 

The art of printing is known to many other 
nations beside ourselves, and is as extensively used 
by them as by us.^ Let us see its fruits. In Ton- 

' M. J. Mohl, Rapport Annuel d la Sociele Asialique, 1851, p. 
92 : " The Indian book trade of indigenous productions is ex- 
tremely lively, and consists of a number of works which are 
never heard of in Europe, nor ever enter a European's library 
even in India. Mr. Springer asserts in a letter, that in the single 
town of Luknau there are thirteen lithographical establishments 
exclusively occupied with multiplying books for the schools, and 
he gives a list of considerable length of books, none of which 
have probably ever reached Europe. The same is the case in 
Delhi, Agra, Cawnpour, Allahabad, and other cities." 


quin, Anam, Japan, books are plentiful, much 
cheaper than with us — so cheap that they are 
within the reach of even the poorest — and even 
the poorest read them. How is it, then, that these 
people are so enervated, so degraded, so sunk in 
sloth and vice' — so near that stage in which even 
civilized man, having frittered away his physical 
and mental powers, may sink infinitely below the 
rude barbarian, who, at the first convenient oppor- 
tunity, becomes his master ? Whence this result ? 
Precisely because the art of printing is a means, 
and not an agent. So long as it is used to diffuse 
sound, sterling ideas, to afford wholesome and re- 
freshing nutriment to vigorous minds, a civiliza- 
tion never decays. But when it becomes the vile 
caterer to a depraved taste, when it serves only to 
multiply the morbid productions of enervated or 
vitiated minds, the senseless quibbles of a sectarian 
theology instead of religion, the venomous scur- 
rility of libellists instead of politics, the foul ob- 
scenities of licentious rhymers instead of poesy — 
how and why should the art of printing save a 
civilization from ruin ? 

' The Siamese are probably the most debased in morals of 
any people on earth. They belong to the remotest outskirts of 
the Indo-Chinese civilization ; yet among them every one knows 
how to read and write. (Hitter, Erdkunde, Asien, vol. iii. p. 


It is objected tbat tlie art of printing contributes 
to the preservation of a civilization by the facility 
with which it multiplies and diffuses the master- 
pieces of the hnman mind, so that, even in times 
of intellectual sterility, when they can no longer 
be emulated, they still form the standard of taste, 
and by their clear and steady light prevent the 
possibility of utter darkness. But it should be 
remembered that to delve in the hoarded treasures 
of thought, and to appropriate them for purposes 
of mental improvement, presupposes the possession 
of that greatest of earthly goods — an enlightened 
mind. And in epochs of intellectual degeneracy, 
few care about those monuments of lost virtues 
and powers; they are left undisturbed on their 
dusty shelves in libraries whose silence is but sel- 
dom broken by the tread of the anxious, pains- 
taking student. 

The longevity which Guttenberg's invention 
assures to the productions of genius is much 
exaggerated. There are a few works that enjoy 
the honor of being reproduced occasionally ; with 
this exception, books die now precisely as for- 
merly did the manuscripts. Works of science, 
especially, disappear with singular rapidity from 
the realms of literature. A few hundred copies 


are struck off at first, and they are seldom, and, 
after a while, never heard of more. With con- 
siderable trouble you can find them in some large 
collection. Look what has become of the thou- 
sands of excellent works that have appeared since 
the first printed page came from the press. The 
greater portion are forgotten. Many that are still 
spoken of, are never read; the titles even of others, 
that were carefully sought after fifty years ago, are 
gradually disappearing from every memory. 

So long as a civilization is vigorous and flourish- 
ing, this disappearance of old books is but a slight 
misfortune. They are superseded ; their valuable 
portions are embodied in new ones; the seed 
exists no longer, but the fruit is developing. In 
times of intellectual degeneracy it is otherwise. 
The weakened powers cannot grapple with the 
solid thought of more vigorous eras ; it is split up 
into more convenient fragments — rendered more 
portable, as it were; the strong beverage that once 
was the pabulum of minds as strong, must be 
diluted to suit the present taste; and innumerable 
dilutions, each weaker than the other, immediately 
claim public favor; the task of learning must be 
lightened in proportion to the decreasing capacity 
for acquiring; everything becomes superficial; 
what costs the least effort gains the greatest esteem ; 


play upon words is acconnted wit; shallowness, 
learning; tlie surface is preferred to tlie depth. 
Thus it has ever been in periods of decay; thus it 
will be with us when we have once reached that 
point whence every movement is retrogressive. 
Who knows but we are near it already ? — and the 
art of printing will not save us from it. 

To enhance the advantages which we derive 
from that art, the number and diffusion of manu- 
scripts have been too much underrated. It is true 
that they were scarce in the epoch immediately 
preceding ; but in the latter periods of the Eoman 
empire they were much more numerous and much 
more widely diffused than is generally imagined. 
In those times, the facilities for instruction were 
by no means of difficult access; books, indeed, 
were quite common. "We may judge so from the 
extraordinary number of threadbare grammarians 
with which even the smallest villages swarmed ; a 
sort of people very much like the petty novelists, 
lawyers, and editors of modern times, and whose 
loose morals, shabbiness, and passionate love for 
enjoyments, are described in Pretronius's Satyricon. 
Even when the decadence was complete, those who 
wished for books could easily procure them. Vir- 
gil was read everywhere; so much so, that the 
illiterate peasantry, hearing so much of him, ima- 


giued him to be some dangerous and powerful sor- 
cerer. The monks copied iiim; they copied Pliny, 
Dioscorides, Plato, and Aristotle; they copied 
Catullus and Martial. These books, then, cannot 
have been very rare. Again, when we consider 
how great a number has come down to us not- 
withstanding centuries of war and devastation — 
notwithstanding so many conflagrations of monas- 
teries, castles, libraries, &c. — we cannot but admit 
that, in spite of the laborious process of transcrip- 
tion, literary productions must have been multi- 
plied to a very great extent. It is possible, there- 
fore, to greatly exaggerate the obligations under 
which science, poetry, morality, and true civiliza- 
tion lie to the typographic art ; and I repeat it, 
that art is a marvellous instrument, but if the arm 
that wields it, and the head that directs the arm, 
are not, the instrument cannot be, of much service. 
Some people believe that the possession of gun- 
powder exempts modern societies from many of 
the dangers that proved fatal to the ancient. They 
assert that it abates the horrors of warfare, and 
diminishes its frequency, bidding fair, therefore, to 
establish, in time, a state of universal peace. If 
such be the beneficial results attendant on this acci- 
dental invention, they have not as yet manifested 


Of tlie various applications of steam, and otlier 
industrial inventions, I would say, as of the art of 
printing, tliat they are great means, but their re- 
sults depend upon the agent. Such arts might be 
practised by rote long after the intellectual activity 
that produced them had ceased. There are innu- 
merable instances of processes which continue in 
use, though the theoretical secret is lost. It is 
therefore not unreasonable to suppose, that the 
practice of our inventions might survive our civil- 
ization ; that is, it might continue when these in- 
ventions were no longer possible, when no further 
improvements were to be hoped for. Material 
well-being is but an external appendage of a civil- 
ization; intellectual activity, and a consequent 
progress, are its life. A state of intellectual tor- 
por, therefore, cannot be a state of civilization, 
even though the people thus stagnating, have the 
means of transporting themselves rapidly from 
place to place, or of adorning themselves and their 
dwellings. This would only prove that they were 
the heirs of a former civilization, but not that they 
actually possessed one. I have said, in another 
place, that a civilization may thus preserve, for a 
time, every appearance of life : the effect may 
continue after the cause has ceased. But, as a 
continuous change seems to be the order of nature 


in all tilings material and immaterial, a downward 
tendency is soon manifest. I have before compared 
a civilization to the human body. While alive, it 
undergoes a perpetual modification: every hour 
has wrought a change; when dead, it preserves, 
for a time, the appearance of life, perhaps even its 
beauty ; but gradually, symptoms of decay become 
manifest, and every stage of dissolution is more 
precipitate than the one before, as a stone thrown 
up in the air, poises itself there for an inappre- 
ciable fraction of time, then falls with continually 
increasing velocity, more and more swiftly as it 
approaches the ground. 

Every civilization has produced in those who 
enjoyed its fruits, a firm conviction of its stability, 
its perpetuity. 

When the palanquins of the Incas travelled 
rapidly on the smooth, magnificent causeways 
which still unite Cuzco and Quito, a distance of 
fifteen hundred miles, with what feelings of exulta- 
tion must they have contemplated the conquests 
of the present, what magnificent prospects of the 
future must have presented themselves to their 
imaginations ! Stern time, with one blow of his 
gigantic wings, hurled their empire into the deep- 
est depths of the abyss of oblivion. These proud 
sovereigns of Peru — they, too, had their sciences, 


their meclianical inventions, tlieir powerful ma- 
chines : the works they accomplished we contem- 
plate with amazement, and a vain effort to divine 
the means employed. How were those blocks of 
stone, thirty-five feet long and eighteen thick, 
raised one upon another ? How were they trans- 
ported the vast distance from the quarries where 
they were hewn ? By what contrivance did the 
engineers of that people hoist those enormous 
masses to a dizzy height ? It is indeed a problem 
— a problem, too, which we will never solve. E"or 
are the ruins of Tihuanaco unparalleled by the 
remains of European civilizations of ante-historic 
times. The cyclopean walls with which Southern 
Europe abounds, and which have withstood the 
all-destroying tooth of time for thousands upon 
thousands of years — who built them ? Who piled 
these monstrous masses, which modern art could 
scarcely move ? 

Let us not mistake the results of a civilization 
for its causes. The causes cease, the results sub- 
sist for a while, then are lost. If they again bear 
fruit, it is because a new spirit has appropriated 
them, and converted them to purposes often very 
different from those they had at first. Human in- 
telligence is finite, nor can it ever reign at once in 


tlie wliole of its domain :^ it can turn to account 
one portion of it only by leaving the other bare ; 
it exalts what it possesses, esteems lightly what it 
has lost. Thus, every generation is at the same 
time superior and inferior to its predecessors. Man 
cannot, then, surpass himself: man's perfectibility 
is not infinite. 

' No individual can encompass the -whole circle of human 
knowledge: no civilization comprise at once all the improve- 
ments possible to humanity. — H. 





Necessary consequences of a supposed equality of all races — 
Uniform testimony of history to the contrary — Traces of ex- 
tinct civilizations among barbarous tribes — Laws which govern 
the adoption of a state of civilization by conquered popula- 
tions — Antagonismof different modes of culture; the Hellenic 
and Persian, European and Arab, etc. 

Had it been tlie will of tlie Creator to endow 
all the branches of the human family with equal 
intellectual capacities, what a glorious tableau 
would history not unfold before us. All being 
equally intelligent, equally aware of their true 
interests, equally capable of triumphing over 
obstacles, a number of simultaneous and flourish- 
ing civilizations would have gladdened every por- 
tion of the inhabited globe. While the most 
ancient Sanscrit nations covered Northern India 
with harvests, cities, palaces, and temples ; and the 
plains of the Tigris and Euphrates shook under 


the trampling of Nimrod's cavalry and chariots, 
the prognathous tribes of Africa would have form- 
ed and developed a social system, sagaciously 
constructed, and productive of brilliant results. 

Some luckless tribes, whose lot fortune had cast 
in inhospitable climes, burning sands, or glacial 
regions, mountain gorges, or cheerless steppes 
swept by the piercing winds of the north, would 
have been compelled to a longer and severer 
struggle against such unpropitious circumstances, 
than more fortunate nations. But being not infe- 
rior in intelligence and sagacity, they would not 
have been long in discovering the means of better- 
ing their condition. Like the Icelanders, the 
Danes, and Norwegians, they would have forced 
the reluctant soil to afford them sustenance; if 
inhabitants of mountainous regions, they would, 
like the Swiss, have enjoyed the advantages of a 
pastoral life, or like the Cashmerians, resorted to 
manufacturing industry. But if their geographical 
situation had been so unfavorable as to admit of 
no resource, they would have reflected that the 
world was large, contained many a pleasant valley 
and fertile plain, where they might seek the fruits 
of intelligent activity, which their stepmotherly 
native land refused them. 

Thus all the nations of the earth would have 


been equally enlightened, equally prosperous; 
some by the commerce of maritime cities, others 
by productive agriculture in inland regions, or 
successful industry in barren and Alpine districts. 
Though they might not exempt themselves from 
the misfortunes to which the imperfections of 
human nature give rise — transitory dissensions, 
civil wars, seditions, etc. — their individual interests 
would soon have led them to invent some system 
of relative equiponderance. As the differences in 
their civilizations resulted merely from fortuitous 
circumstances, and not from innate inequalities, a 
mutual interchange would soon have assimilated 
them in all essential points. Nothing could then 
prevent a universal confederation, that dream of 
so many centuries; and the inhabitants of the 
most distant parts of the globe would have been 
as members of one great cosmopolite people. 

Let us contrast this fantastic picture with the 
reality. The first nations worthy of the name, 
owed their formation to an instinct of aggregation, 
which the barbarous tribes near them not only did 
not feel then, but never afterward. These nations 
spread beyond their original boundaries, and 
forced others to submit to their power. But the 
conquered neither adopted nor understood the 
principles of the civilization imposed upon them. 


Nor Las the force of example been of avail to 
those in whom innate capacity was wanting. The 
native populations of the Spanish peninsula, and 
of Transalpine and Ligurian Gaul, saw Phenicians, 
Greeks, and Carthaginians, successively establish 
flourishing cities on their coasts, without feeling 
the least incitement to imitate the manners or 
forms of government of these prosperous merchants. 
What a glorious spectacle do not the Indians of 
North America witness at this moment. They 
have before their eyes a great and prosperous 
nation, eminent for the successful practical appli- 
cation of modern theories and sciences to political 
and social forms, as well as to industrial art. The 
superiority of this foreign race, which has so firmly 
established itself upon his former patrimony, is 
evident to the red man. He sees their magnificent 
cities, their thousands of vessels upon the once 
silent rivers, their successful agriculture ; he knows 
that even his own rude wants, the blanket with 
which he covers himself, the weapon with which 
he slays his game, the ardent spirits he has learned 
to love so well, can be supplied only by the 
stranger. The last feeble hope to see his native 
soil delivered from the presence of the conqueror's 
race, has long since vanished from his breast ; he 
feels that the land of his fathers is not his own. 


Yet lie stubbornly refuses to enter tlie pale of this 
civilization wliicli invites him, solicits him, tries to 
entice him with superior advantages and comforts. 
He prefers to retreat from solitude to solitude, 
deeper and deeper into the primitive forest. He 
is doomed to perish, and he knows it ; but a mys- 
terious power retains him under the yoke of his 
invincible repugnances, and while he admires the 
strength and superiority of the whites, his con- 
science, his whole nature, revolts at the idea of 
assimilating to them. He cannot forget or smother 
the instincts of his race. 

The aborigines of Spanish America are sup- 
posed to evince a less unconquerable aversion. 
It is because the Spanish metropolitan government 
had never attempted to civilize them. Provided 
they were Christians, at least in name, they were 
left to their own usages and habits, and, in many 
instances, under the administration of their Ca- 
ziques. The Spaniards colonized but little, and 
when the conquest was completed and their san- 
guinary appetites glutted by those unparalleled 
atrocities which brand them with indelible dis- 
grace, they indulged in a lazy toleration, and di- 
rected their tyranny rather against individuals 
than against modes of thinking and living. The 
Indians have, in a great measure, mixed with their 


conquerors, and will continue to live while their 
brethren in the vicinity of the Anglo-Saxon race 
are inevitably doomed to perish. 

But not only savages, even nations of a higher 
rank in the intellectual scale are incapable of 
adopting a foreign civilization. We have already 
alluded to the failure of the English in India and 
of the Dutch in Java, in trying to import their 
own ideas into their foreign dependencies. French 
philanthropy is at this moment gaining the same 
experience in the new French possession of Alge- 
ria. There can be no stronger or more conclusive 
proof of the various endowments of different 

If we had no other argument in proof of the 
innate imparity of races than the actual condition 
of certain barbarous tribes, and the supposition 
that they had always been in that condition, and, 
consequently, always would be, we should expose 
ourselves to serious objections. For many barba- 
rous nations preserve traces of former cultivation 
and refinement. There are some tribes, very de- 
graded in every other respect, who yet possess 
traditional regulations respecting the marriage 
celebration, the forms of justice and the division 
of inheritances, which evidently are remnants of 
a higher state of society, though the rites have 


long since lost all meaning. Many of tlie Indian 
tribes who wander over the tracts once occupied 
by tbe Alleghanian race, may be cited as instances 
of this kind. The natives of the Marian Islands, 
and many other savages, practise mechanically 
certain processes of manufacture, the invention 
of which presupposes a degree of ingenuity and 
knowledge utterly at variance with their present 
stupidity and ignorance. To avoid hasty and 
erroneous conclusions concerning this seeming 
decadence, there are several circumstances to be 
taken into consideration. 

Let us suppose a savage population to fall with- 
in the sphere of activity of a proximate, but su- 
perior race. In that case they may gradually 
learn to conform externally to the civilization of 
their masters, and acquire the technicalities of 
their arts and inventions. Should the domiaant 
race disappear either by expulsion or absorption, 
the civilization would expire, but some of its out- 
ward forms might be retained and perpetuated. 
A certain degree of mechanical skill might sur- 
vive the scientific principles upon which it was 
based. In other words, practice might long con- 
tinue after the theory was lost. History furnishes 
us a number of examples in support of this asser 


Such, for instance, was tlie attitude of tlie Assy- 
rians toward tlie civilization of tlie Chaldeans ; of 
the Iberians, Celts, and lUyrians towards that of 
the Eonians. If, then, the Cherokees, the Cataw- 
bas, Muskogees, Seminoles, Natchez and other 
tribes, still preserve a feeble impress of the Alle- 
ghanian civilization, I should not thence conclude 
that they are the pure and direct descendants of 
the initiatory element of that people, which would 
imply that a race may once have been civilized, 
and be no longer so, I should say, on the con • 
traiy, that the Cherokees, if at all ethnically con- 
nected with the ancient dominant type, are so by 
only a collateral tie of consanguinity, else they 
could never have relapsed into a state of barbar- 
ism. The other tribes which exhibit little or no 
vestiges of the former civilization are probably 
the descendants of a different conquered popula- 
tion which formed no constituent element of the 
society, but served rather as the substratum upon 
which the edifice was erected. It is no matter of 
surprise, if this be the case, that they should pre- 
serve — without understanding them and with a 
sort of superstitious veneration — customs, laws, 
and rites invented by others far more intelligent 
than themselves. 

The same may be said of the mechanical arts, 


The aborigines of tlie Carolines are about the 
most interesting of the South Sea islanders. Their 
looms, sculptured canoes, their taste for naviga- 
tion and commerce show them vastly superior to 
the Pelagian negroes, their neighbors. It is easy 
to account for this superiority by the well-authen- 
ticated admixture of Malay blood. But as this 
element is greatly attenuated, the inventions which 
it introduced have not borne indigenous fruits, 
but, on the contrary, are gradually, but surely, 

The preceding observations will, I think, suffice 
to show that the traces of civilization among a 
barbarous tribe are not a necessary proof that this 
tribe itself has ever been really civilized. It may 
either have lived under the domination of a supe- 
rior but consanguineous race, or living in its vi- 
cinity, have, in an humble and feeble degree, pro- 
fited by its lessons. This result, however, is possi- 
ble only when there exists between the superior 
and the inferior race a certain ethnical affinity; 
that is to say, when the former is either a noble 
branch of the same stock, or ennobled by inter- 
mixture with another. When the disparity be- 
tween races is too great and too decided, and there 
is no intermediate link, to connect them, the con- 
tact is alwavs fatal to the inferior race, as is abun- 


clantlj proved by the disappearance of the abori- 
gines of North America and Polynesia. 

I shall now speak of the relations arising from 
the contact of different civilizations. 

The Persian civilization came in contact with 
the Grecian ; the Egyptian with the Grecian and 
Roman ; the Roman with the Grecian ; and finally 
the modern civilization of Europe with all those 
at present subsisting on the globe, and especially 
with the Arabian. 

The contact of Greek intelligence with the cul- 
ture of the Persians was as frequent as it was 
compulsory. The greater portion of the Hellenic 
population, and the wealthiest, though not the 
most independent, was concentrated in the cities 
of the Syrian coast, the Greek colonies of Asia 
Minor, and on the shores of the Euxine, all of 
which formed a part of the Persian dominions. 
Though these colonies preserved their own local 
laws and politics, they were under the authority 
of the satraps of the great king. Intimate rela- 
tions, moreover, were maintained between Euro- 
pean Greece and Asia. That the Persians were 
then possessed of a high degree of civilization is 
proved by their political organization and finan- 
cial administration, by the magnificent ruins "^hich 
still attest the splendor and grandeur of their 


cities. But the principles of government and re- 
ligion, the modes and habits of life, the genius of 
the arts, were very differently understood by the 
two nations ; and, therefore, notwithstanding their 
constant intercourse, neither made the slightest 
approach toward assimilation with the other. 
The Greeks called their puissant neighbors bar- 
barians, and the latter, no doubt, amply return- 
ed the compliment. 

In Ecbatana no other form of government could 
be conceived than an undivided hereditary authori- 
ty, limited only by certain religious prescriptions 
and a court ceremonial. The genius of the Greeks 
tended to an endless variety of governmental forms ; 
subdivided into a number of petty sovereignties. 
Greek society presented a singular mosaic of politi- 
cal structures; oligarchical in Sparta, democratical 
in Athens, tyrannical in Sicj^on, monarchical in 
Macedonia, the forms of government were the same 
in scarcely two cities or districts. The state religion 
of the Persians evinced the same tendency to unity 
as their politics, and was more of a metaphysical and 
moral than a material character. The Greeks, on 
the contrary, had a symbolical system of religion, 
consisting in the worship of natural objects and 
influences, which gradually changed into a perfect 
prosopopoeia, representing the gods as sentient 


beings, subject to-tbe same passions, and engaged 
in the same pursuits and occupations as tlie in- 
habitants of the earth. The worship consisted 
principally in the performance of rites and demon- 
strations of respect to the deities ; the conscience 
was left to the direction of the civil laws. Besides, 
the rites, as well as the divinities and heroes in 
whose honor they were practised, were different 
in every place. 

As for the manners and habits of life, it is un- 
necessary to point out how vastly different they 
were from those of Persia. Public contempt 
punished the young, wealthy, pleasure-loving cos- 
mopolitan, who attempted to live in Persian style. 
Thus, until the time of Alexander, when the power 
of Greece had arrived at its culminating point, 
Persia, with all her preponderance, could not con- 
vert Hellas to her civilization. 

In the time of Alexander, this incompatibility of 
dissimilar modes of culture was singularly demon- 
strated. "When the empire of Darius succumbed 
to the Macedonian phalanxes, it was expected, for 
a time, that a Hellenic civilization would spread 
over Asia. There seemed the more reason for 
this belief when the conqueror, in a moment of 
aberrancy, treated the monuments of the laud 
with such aggressive violence as seemed to evince 


equal hatred and contempt. But the wanton in- 
cendiary of Persepolis soon changed his mind, 
and so completely, that his design became appa- 
rent to simply substitute himself in the room of 
the dynasty of Achsemenes, and rule over Persia 
like a Persian king, with Greece added to his 
estates. Great as was Alexander's power, it was 
insufficient for the execution of such a project. 
His generals and soldiers could not brook to see 
their commander assume the long flowing robes of 
the eastern kings, surround himself with eunuchs, 
and renounce the habits and manners of his native 
land. Though after his death some of his succes- 
sors persisted in the same system, they were com- 
pelled greatly to mitigate it. Where the popula- 
tion consisted of a motley compound of Greeks, 
Syrians, and Arabs, as in Egypt and the coast of 
Asia Minor, a sort of compromise between the two 
civilizations became thenceforth the normal state 
of the country ; but where the races remained 
unmixed, the national manners were preserved. 

In the latter periods of the Eoman empire, the 
two civilizations had become completely blended 
in the whole East, including continental Greece; 
but it was tinged more with the Asiatic than the 
Greek tendencies, because the masses belonged 
much more to the former element than to the 


latter. Hellenic forms, it is true, still subsisted, 
but it is not difficult to discover in the ideas of 
tliose periods and countries tlie Oriental stock 
upon wliich the scions of the Alexandrian school 
had been engrafted. The respective influence of 
the various elements was in strict proportion to 
the quantity of blood ; the intellectual preponder- 
ance belono-ed to that which had contributed the 
greatest share. 

. The same antagonism which I pointed out be- 
tween the intellectual culture of the Greeks and 
that of the Persians, will be found to result from 
the contact of all other widely different civiliza- 
tions. I shall mention but one more instance : 
the relations between the Arab civilization' and 
our own. 

' The -word Arab is here used instead of the more common, 
but less correct, term Saracen, ■which was the general appella- 
tion bestowed on the first propagators of the Islam by the 
Greeks and Latins. The Arab civilization reached its culminat- 
ing point about the reign of Harun al Rashid. At that time, it 
comprised nearly all that remained of the arts and sciences of 
former ages. The splendor and magnificence for which it was 
distinguished, is even yet the theme of romancers and poets ; and 
may be discerned to this day in the voluptuous and gorgeous 
modes of life among the higher classes in those countries where 
it still survives, as well as in the remains of Arab architecture 
in Spain, the best preserved and most beautiful of which is 
the well-known Albamhra. Thonsjh the Arab civilization had a 


There was a time wlien the arts and sciences, 
the muses and their train, seemed to have forsaken 

decidedly sensual tendency and cliaracter, it was not -without 
great benefits to niankind. From it our forefathers learned 
some valuable secrets of agriculture, and the first lessons in 
horticulture. The peach, the pear, the apricot, the finer varie- 
ties of apples and plums, and nearly all of our most valued 
fruits were brought into Western and Central Europe by the 
returning crusaders from the land of the Saracens. Many va- 
luable processes of manufacture, and especially of the art of 
working metals, are derived from the same source. In the 
science of medicine, the Arabs laid the foundation of that noble 
structure we now admire. Though they were prevented by re- 
ligious scruples from dissecting the human body, and, therefore, 
remained in ignorance of the most important facts of anatomy, 
they brought to light innumerable secrets of the healing powers 
in the vegetable kingdom ; they first practised the art of distil- 
lation and- of chemical analysis. They were the beginners of 
the science of Chemistry, to which they gave its name, and in 
which many of the commonest technical terms (such as alkali, 
alembic, alcohol, and many others), still attest their labors. In 
mathematical science they were no less industrious. To them 
we owe that simple and useful method which so greatly facili- 
tates the more complex processes of calculation, without which, 
indeed, some of them would be impossible, and which still re- 
tains its Arabic name — Algebra. But what is more, to them 
we owe our system of notation, so vastly superior to that of the 
Greeks and Ptomans, so admirable in its efficacy and simplicity, 
that it has made arithmetic accessible to the humblest under- 
standing; at the present time, the whole Christian world uses 
Arabic numerals. — H. 


tlieir former abodes, to rally around the standard 
of Mohammed. That our forefathers were not 
blind to the excellencies of the Arab civilization 
is proved by their sending their sons to the schools 
of Cordova. But not a trace of the spirit of that 
civilization has remained in Europe, save in those 
countries which still retain a portion of Ishmaelitic 
blood. Nor has the Arab civilization found a 
more congenial soil in India over which, also, its 
dominion extended. Like those portions of Eu- 
rope which were subjected to Moslem masters, 
that country has preserved its own modes of think- 
ing intact. 

But if the pressure of the Arab civilization, at 
the time of its greatest splendor and our greatest 
ignorance, could not affect the modes of thinking 
of the races of Western Europe, neither can we, 
at present, when the positions are reversed, affect 
in the slightest degree the feeble remnants of that 
once so flourishing civilization. Our action upon 
these remnants is continuous — the pressure of our 
intellectual activity upon them immense ; we suc- 
ceed only in destroying, not in transforming or 

• It is supposed by many that Turkey will ultimately be won 
to our ciyilization, and, as a proof of this, great stress is laid 
upon the efibrts of the present Sultan, as well as his predeces- 


Yet this civilization was not even original, and 
might, therefore, be supposed to have a less obsti- 
nate vitality. The Arab nation, it is well known, 
based its empire and its intellectual culture upon 
fragments of races which it had aggregated by 
the weight of the sword. A variegated compound 
like the Islamitic populations, could not but deve- 
lop a civilization of an equally variegated charac- 
ter, to which each ethnical element contributed its 
share. These elements it is not difficult to deter- 
mine and point out. 

The nucleus, around which aggregated those 
countless multitudes, was a small band of valiant 
warriors who unfurled in their native deserts the 
standard of a new creed. They were not, before 
Mohammed's time, a new or unknown people. 

sor, to " Europeanize" the Turks. Whoevei' has cai'efully and 
unbiassedly studied the present condition of that nation, knows 
how unsuccessful these efforts, backed, though they were, by 
absolute authority, and by the immense influence of the whole 
of Western Europe, have hitherto been and always will be. It 
is a notorious fact, that the Turks fight less well in their semi- 
European dress and with their European tactics, of which so 
much was anticipated, than they did with their own. The 
Moslem now regards the Christian with the same feelings that 
he did in the zenith of his power, and these feelings are not the 
less bitter, because they can no longer be so ostentatiously dis- 
played. — ^H. 


They liad frequently come in contact witli the 
Jews and Phenicians, and had in their veins the 
blood of both these nations. Taking advantage of 
their favorable situation for commerce, they had 
performed the carrier trade of the Eed Sea, and 
the eastern coast of Africa and India, for the most 
celebrated nations of ancient times, the Jews and 
the Phenicians, later still, for the Eomans and 
Persians. They had the same traditions in com- 
mon with the Shemitic and Hamitic families from 
which they sprung.^ They had even taken an 
active part in the political life of neighboring na- 
tions. Under the Arsacides and the sons of Sassan, 
some of their tribes exerted great influence in the 
politics of the Persian empire. One of their ad- 
venturers^ had become Emperor of Eome ; one of 
their princes protected the majesty of Pome against 
a conqueror before whom the whole east trembled, 
and shared the imperial purple with the Eoman 

1 The Arabs believed themselves the descendants of Ishmael, 
the son of Hagar. This belief, even before Mohammed's time, 
had been curiously blended with the idolatrous doctrines of some 
of their tribes. — H. 

2 Philip, an Arabian adventurer who was prefect of the pr^- 
torian guards under the third Gordian, and who, through his 
boldness and ability, succeeded that sovereign on the throne in 
A. D. 214.— H. 


sovereign ;^ one of tlieir cities had become, under 
Zenobia, the centre and capital of a vast empire 
that rivalled and even threatened Eome.^ 

' Odenathus, senator of Palmyra, after Sapor, the King of 
Persia, had taken prisoner the Emperor of Rome, and was de- 
vastating the empire, met the ruthless conqueror with a body 
of Palmyrians, and several times routed his much more numer- 
ous armies. Being the only one who could protect the Eastern 
possessions of the Roman empire against the aggressions of the 
Persians, he was appointed Caesar, or coadjutor to the emperor 
by Gallienus, the son of Valerian, the captive sovereign. — H. 

2 The history of Zenobia, the Queen of the East, as she 
styled herself, and one of the most interesting characters in 
history, is well known. As in the preceding notes, I shall, 
therefore, merely draw attention to familiar facts, with a view 
to refresh the reader's memory, not to instruct him. 

The famous Arabian queen was the widow of Odenathus, of 
Palmyra, who bequeathed to her his dignity as Csesar, or pro- 
tector of the Eastern dominions of Rome. It soon, however, 
became apparent that she disdained to owe allegiance to the 
Roman emperors, and aimed at establishing a new great empire 
for herself and her descendants. Though the most accom- 
plished, as well as the most beautiful woman of her time, she 
led her armies in person, and was so eminently successful in 
her military enterprises that she soon extended her dominion 
from the Euphrates to the Nile. Palmyra thus became the cen- 
tre and capital of a vast empire, which, as Mr. Gobineau ob- 
serves, rivalled and even threatened Rome itself. She was, 
however, defeated by Aurelian, and, in A. D. 273, graced the 
triumph of her conqueror on his return to Rome. 

The former splendor of the now deserted Palmyra is attested 


It . is evident, therefore, tliat the Arab nation 
had never ceased, from the remotest antiquity, to 
entertain intimate relations with the most powerful 
and celebrated ancient societies. It had taken 
joart in their political and intellectual activity; 
and it might not inappropriately be compared to a 
body half-plunged into the water, and half exposed 
to the sun, as it partook at the same time of an 
advanced state of civilization and of complete 

Mohammed invented the religion most conform- 
able to the ideas of a people, among whom idolatry 
had still many zealous adherents, but where 
Christianity, though having made numerous con- 
verts, was losing favor on account of the endless 
schisms and contentions of its followers.^ The 

by the magnificent ruins which still form an inexhaustible theme 
for the admiration of the traveller and antiquarian. — H. 

1 Though the mass of the nation were ignorant of letters, the 
Arabs had already before Mohammed's times some famous wri- 
ters. They had even made voyages of discovery, in which they 
went as far as China. The earliest, and, as modern researches 
have proved, the most truthful, account of the manners and 
customs of that country is by Arab writers. — II. 

2 At the time of the appearance of the false prophet, Arabia 
contained within its bosom every then known religious sect. This 
was owing not only to the central position of that country, but 
also to the liberty which was then as now a prerogative of the 



religious dogma of tTae Koreisliite prophet was a 
skilful compromise between the various contending 

Arab. Among them every one was free to select or compose 
for himself his own private religion. While the adjacent coun- 
tries were shaken by the storms of conquest and tyranny, the 
persecuted sects fled to the happy land where they might profess 
what they thought, and practice what they professed. 

A religious persecution had driven from Persia many who pro- 
fessed the religion of the ancient Magi. The Jews also were 
early settlers in Arabia. Seven centuries before the death of 
Mohammed they had firmly established themselves there. The 
destruction of Jerusalem brought still greater numbers of these 
industrious exiles, who at once erected synagogues, and to pro- 
tect the wealth they rapidly acquired, built and garrisoned 
strongly fortified towns in various portions of the wilderness. 
The Bible had at an early day been translated into the Arabic 
tongue. Christian missionaries were not wanting, and their 
active zeal was eminently successful. Several of the Arab tribes 
had become converts. There were Christian churches in Yemen ; 
the states of Hira and Gassan were under the jurisdiction of 
Jacobite and Nestorian bishops. The various heretical sects 
found shelter and safety among the hospitable Arabs. But this 
very fact proved detrimental to the progress of the Christian 
religion, and opened the path for the creed of Mohammed. So 
many and various were the Christian sects that crowded together 
in that country, and so widely departed from the true spirit of 
Christianity were some of them, that bitter hostilities sprung up 
among them, and their religion fell into contempt. The Eastern 
Christians of the seventh century had insensibly relapsed into a 
semblance of paganism, one of the sects (the CoUyridian heretics) 
had even gone so far as to invest the virgin Mary with the name 


opinions. It reconciled tile Jewish dispensation 
witli tlie New Law better tlian could the Cliurcli 
at that time, and thus solved a problem which had 
disquieted the consciences of many of the earlier 
Christians, and which, especially in the east, had 
given rise to many heretical sects. This was in 
itself a very tempting bait, and, besides, any theo- 
logical novelty had decided chances of success 
among the Syrians and Egyptians.^ Moreover, the 
new religion appeared with sword in hand, which 
in those times of schismatical propagandism seemed 
a warrant of success more relied upon by the masses 
to whom it addressed itself, than peaceful persua- 

and honors of a goddess. This is what the author alludes to in 
saying that Christianity was losing favor in Arabia at the time 
of the appearance of Mohammed. — H. 

' The student of ecclesiastical history knows what a number 
of sects had sprung up about that time to distress and harass the 
Church. It is not so generally appreciated, however, that for 
the fii'st hundred years, the progress of Islamism was almost 
exclusively at the expense of Christianity. The whole of the 
present Ottoman empire, and almost the whole northern coast 
of Africa were previously Christian countries. Whether the loss 
is greatly to be regretted, I know not, for the Syrians and Egyp- 
tians, from being very indifferent Christians, became good Mo- 
hammedans. These populations were to the Christian Church 
like a cankered limb, the lopping off of which may have been 
ordained by an all-wise Providence for the salvation of what was 
yet sound in the body. — H. 


Thus arrayed, Islamism issued from its native 
deserts. Arrogant, and possessed but in a very 
slight degree of the inventive faculty, it developed 
no civilization peculiar to itself, but it had adopted, 
as far as it was capable of doing, the bastard Greco- 
Asiatic civilization already extant. As its trium- 
phant banners progressed on the east and south of 
the Mediterranean, it incorporated masses imbued 
with the same tendencies and spirit. From each 
of these it borrowed something. As its religious 
dogmas were a patchwork of the tenets of the 
Church, those of the Synagogue, and of the dis- 
figured traditions of Hedjaz and Yemen, so its 
code of laws was a compound of the Persian and 
the Eoman, its science was Greco-Syrian^ and Egyp- 
tian, its administration from the beginning tolerant 
like that of every body politic that embraces many 
heterogeneous elements. 

It has caused much useless surprise, that Moslem 
society should have made such rapid strides to 
refinement of manners. But the mass of the peo- 

1 W. Von Humboldt. Ueber die Karo-Sprache, Eiideitung, p. 
243. "Durch die Richtung auf diese Bildung und durch innere 
Stammes-verwandscliaft wurden sie -wirklich fiir griechischeu 
Geist und griechische Sprache empfanglich, da die Araber vor- 
zugsweise nur an den -wissenschaftlichea Resultateu griechis- 
cher Forschung hiengen." 


pie over whom its dominion extended, liad merely 
changed the name of their creed ; they were old 
and well-known actors on the stage of history, and 
have simply been mistaken for a new nation when 
they undertook to play the part of apostles before 
the world. These people gave to the common 
store their previous refinement and luxury ; each 
new addition to the standard of Islamism, contri- 
buted some portion of its acquisitions. The vital- 
izing principle of the society, the motive power of 
this cumbrous mass, was the small nucleus of Arab 
tribes that had come forth from the heart of the 
peninsula. They furnished, not artists and learned 
men, but fanatics, soldiers, victors, and masters. 

The Arab civilization, then, is nothing but 
the Greco-Syrian civilization, rejuvenated and 
quickened, for a time, with a new and energetic, 
but short-lived, geniu.s. It was, besides, a little 
renovated and a little modified, by a slight dash of 
Persian civilization. 

Yet, motley and incongruous as are the elements 
of which it is composed, and capable of stretching 
and accommodating itself as such a compound 
must be, it cannot adapt itself to any social struc- 
ture erected by other elements than its own. In 
other words, many as are the races that contributed 


to its formation, it is suited to none tTiat have not 
contributed to it. 

This is what the whole course of history teaches 
us. Every race has its own modes of thinking ; 
every race, capable of developing a civilization, 
develops one peculiar to itself, and which it can- 
not engraft upon any other, except by amalgama- 
tion of blood, and then in but a modified degree. 
The European cannot win the Asiatic to his modes 
of thinking ; he cannot civilize the Australian, or 
the Negro ; he can transmit but a portion of his 
intelligence to his half-breed offspring of the infe- 
rior race ; the progeny of that half-breed and the 
nobler branch of his ancestry, is but one degree 
nearer, but not equal to that branch in capacity : 
the proportions of blood are strictly preserved. I 
have adduced illustrations of this truth from the 
history of varioiis branches of the human family, 
of the lowest as well as of the higher in the scale 
of intellectual progress. Are we not, then, au- 
thorized to conclude that the diversity observable 
among them is constitutional, innate, and not the 
result of accident or circumstances — that there is 
an absolute inequality in their intellectual endow- 
ments ? 




Impropriety of drawing general conclusions from individual 
cases— Recapitulatory sketch of the leading features of the 
Negro, the Yellow, and the White races— Superiority of the 
latter — Conclusion of volume the first. 

In the preceding pages, I have endeavored to 
show that, though there are both scientific and 
religious reasons for not beheving in a plurahty 
of origins of our species, the various branches of 
the human family are distinguished by permanent 
and irradicable differences, both mentally and phy- 
sically. They are unequal in intellectual capacity,^ 

' I do not hesitate to consider as an unmistakable mark of 
intellectual inferiority, the exaggerated development of instincts 
that characterizes certain savages. The perfection which some 
of their senses acquire, cannot but be at the expense of the 
reasoning faculties. See, upon this subject, the opinions of 
Mr. Lesson desPapous, in a memoir inserted in the tenth volume 
of the Annales des Sciences NatnreJles. 


in personal beauty, and in pLysical strength. 
Again I repeat, tliat in coming to this conclusion, 
I have totally eschewed the method which is, un- 
fortunately for the cause of science, too often re- 
sorted to by ethnologists, and which, to say the 
least of it, is simply ridiculous. The discussion 
has not rested upon the moral and intellectual 
worth of isolated individuals. 

With regard to moral worth, I have proved 
that all men, to whatever race they may belong, 
are capable of receiving the lights of true religion, 
and of sufficiently appreciating that blessing to 
work out their own salvation. With regard to 
intellectual capacity, I emphatically protest against 
that mode of arguing which consists in saying, 
" every negro is a dunce ;" because, by the same 
logic, I should be compelled to admit that " every 
white man is intelligent ;" and I shall take good 
care to commit no such absurdity. 

I shall not even wait for the vindicators of the 
absolute equality of all races, to adduce to me 
such and such a passage in some missionary's or 
navigator's journal, wherefrom it appears that some 
Yolof has become a skilful carpenter, that some 
Hottentot has made an excellent domestic, that 
some Cafire plays well on the violin, or that some 


Bambarra has made very respectable progress in 

I am prepared to admit — and to admit "witli- 
ont proof — anything of that sort, however re- 
markable, that may be related of the most de- 
graded savages. I have already denied the exces- 
sive stupidity, the incurable idiotcy of even the 
lowest on the scale of humanity. Nay, I go 
further than my opponents, and am not in the least 
disposed to doubt that, among the chiefs of the 
rude negroes of Africa, there could be found a 
considerable number of active and vigorous minds, 
greatly surpassing in fertility of ideas and mental 
resources, the average of our peasantry, and even 
of some of our middle classes. But the unfairness 
of deductions based upon a comparison of the 
most intelligent blacks and the least intelligent 
whites, must be obvious to every candid mind. 

Once for all, such arguments seem to me un- 
worthy of real science, and I do not wish to place 
myself upon so narrow and unsafe a ground. If 
Mungo Park, or the brothers Lander, have given 
to some negro a certificate of superior intelligence, 
who will assure us that another traveller, meet- 
ing the same individual, would not have arrived 
at a diametrically opposite conclusion concerning 
him ? Let us leave such puerilities, and compare, 


not the individuals, but tlie masses. When we 
shall have clearly established of what the latter 
are capable, by what tendencies they are character- 
ized, and by what limits their intellectual activity 
and development are circumscribed, whether, since 
the beginning of the historic epoch, they have 
acted upon, or been acted upon by other groups — 
when we shall have clearly established these points, 
we may then descend to details, and, perhaps, one 
day be able to decide why the greatest minds of 
one group are inferior to the most brilliant geniuses 
of another, in what respects the vulgar herds of 
all types assimilate, and in what others they differ, 
and why. But this difficult and delicate task can- 
not be accomplished until the relative position of 
the whole mass of each race shall have been 
nicely, and, so to say, mathematically defined. I 
do not know whether we may hope ever to arrive 
at results of such incontestable clearness and pre- 
cision, as to be able to no longer trust solely to 
general facts, but to embrace the various shades 
of intelligence in each group, to define and class 
the inferior strata of every population and their 
influence on the activity of the whole. "Were it 
possible thus to divide each group into certain 
strata, and compare these with the corresponding 
strata of every other : the most gifted of the domi- 


nant with the most gifted of the dominated 2'aces, 
and so on downwards, the superiority of some in 
capacity, energy, and activity would be self-demon- 

After having mentioned the facts which prove 
the inequality of various branches of the human 
family, and having laid down the method by which 
that proof should be established, I arrived at the 
conclusion that the whole of our species is divi- 
sible into three great groups, which I call primary 
varieties, in order to distinguish them from others 
formed by intermixture. It now remains for me 
to assign to each of these groups the principal 
characteristics by which it is distinguished from 
the other"*. 

The dark races are the lowest on the scale. The 
shape of the pelvis has a character of animalism, 
which is imprinted on the individuals of that race 
ere their birth, and seems to portend their destiny. 
The circle of intellectual development of that group 
is more contracted than that of either of the two 

If the negro's narrow and receding forehead 
seems to mark him as inferior in reasoning capa- 
city, other portions of his cranium as decidedly 
point to faculties of an humbler, but not the less 
powerful character. He has energies of a not des- 


picable order, and whicli sometimes display them- 
selves witli an intensity trnly formidable. He is 
capable of violent passions, and passionate attach- 
ments. Some of his senses have an acuteness un- 
known to the other races : the sense of taste, and 
that of smell, for instance. 

But it is precisely this development of the animal 
faculties that stamps the negro with the mark 
of inferiority to other races. I said that his sense 
of taste was acute ; it is by no means fastidious. 
Every sort of food is welcome to his palate ; none 
disgusts' him; there is no flesh nor fowl too vile 

' "The negro's sense of smell and of taste is as powerful as 
it is unselecting. He eats everything, and I have good reasons 
for asserting, that odors the most disagreeable to us, are posi- 
tively pleasant to him." (Pruner, Op. cit, vol. i. p. 133.) 

Mr. Pruner's assertions would, I think, be corroborated by 
every one who has lived much among the negroes. It is a 
notorious fact that the blacks on our southern plantations eat 
every animal they can lay hold of. I have seen them discuss a 
piece of fox, or the still more strongly flavored pole-cat, with 
evident relish. Nay, on one occasion, I have known a party of 
negroes feast on an alligator for a whole week, during which 
time they bartered their allowance of meat for trinkets. Upon 
my expressing surprise at so strange a repast, I was assured 
that it was by no means uncommon ; that it was a favorite viand of 
the negroesin their native country, and that even here they often 
killed them with the prospect of a savory roast or stew. I am 
aware that some persons north of the Mason's & Dixon's line 


to find a place in his stomacli. So it is witli regard 
to odor. His sense of smell might rather be called 
greedy than acute. He easily accommodates him- 
self to the most repulsive. 

To these traits he joins a childish instability of 
humor. His feelings are intense, but not enduring. 
His grief is as transitory as it is poignant, and he 
rapidly passes from it to extreme gayety. He is 
seldom vindictive — his anger is violent, but soon 
appeased. It might almost be said that this vari- 

miglit be disposed to explain this by asserting that hunger drove 
them to such extremities ; but I can testify, from my own ob- 
servation, that this is not the case. In the instances I have 
mentioned, and in many others which are too repulsive to be 
committed to paper, the banqueters were well fed, and evidently 
made such a feast from choice. There are, in the Southern 
States, many of the poor white population who are neither so 
well clothed nor so well fed as these negroes were, and yet I 
never heard of their resorting to such dishes. 

In regard to the negro's fondness for odors, I am less quali- 
fied to speak from my own observations, but nearly every de- 
scription of the manners of his native climes that I have read, 
mentioned the fact of their besmearing themselves with the 
strong musky fluid secreted by many animals — the alligator, 
for instance. And I remember having heard woodsmen in the 
South say, that while the white man shuns the polecat more 
than he does the rattlesnake, and will make a considerable cir- 
cuit to get out of its way, the negro is but little afraid of this 
formidable animal and its nauseous weapon.— II. 



ability of sentiments annihilates for him the ex- 
istence of both virtue and vice. The very ardency 
to which his sensibilities are aroused, implies a 
speedy subsidence; the intensity of his desire, a 
prompt gratification, easily forgotten. He does not 
cling to life with the tenacity of the whites. But 
moderately careful of his own, he easily sacrifices 
that of others, and kills, though not absolutely 
bloodthirsty, without much provocation or subse- 
quent remorse.^ Under intense suffering, he ex- 
hibits a moral cowardice which readily seeks refuge 
in death, or in a sort of monstrous impassivity;^ 

, * This is illustrated by many of their practices in their natural 
state. For instance, the well-known custom of putting to death, 
at the demise of some prince or great man, a number — corre- 
sponding with the rank of the deceased — of his slaves, in order 
that they may wait upon him in the other world. Hundreds of 
poor creatures are often thus massacred at the funeral cele- 
bi'ations in honor of some king or ruler. Yet it would be unjust 
to call the negro ferocious or cruel. It merely proves the slight 
estimation in which he holds human life. — H. 

^ There is a callousness in the negro, which strikingly dis- 
tinguishes him from the whites, though it is possessed in perhaps 
an equal degree by other races. I borrow from Mr. Van Am- 
ringe's Nat. Hist, of Man, a few remarks on this subject by Dr. 
Mosely, in his Treatise on Tropical Diseases: "Negroes," says 
the Doctor, "whatever the cause maybe, are devoid of sensibility 
(physical) to a surprising degree. They are not subject to 
nervous diseases. They sleep sound in every disease, nor does 


Witli regard to his moral capacities, it may be 
stated tliat lie is susceptible, in an eminent degree, 
of religious emotions; but unless assisted' by the 
light of the Grospel, his religious sentiments are of 
a decidedly sensual character. 

Having demonstrated the little intellectual and 
strongly sensiial' character of the black variety, 

any mental disturbance ever keep them awake. They bear chi- 
rurgical operattons much better than white people, and what 
would be the cause of insupportable pain to a white man, a negro 
would almost disregard. I have amputated the legs of many 
negroes, who have held the upper part of the limb themselves." 
Every southern planter, and every physician of experience in 
the South, could bear witness to these facts. — H. 

' Thinking that it might not be uninteresting to some of our 
readers to see the views concerning the negro of another Eu- 
ropean writer besides Mr. Gobineau, I subjoin the following 
extract from Mr. Tschudi's Travels in South America. Mr. 
Tschudi is a Swiss naturalist of undoubted reputation, an ex- 
perienced philosophic observer, and a candid seeker for truth. 
His opinion is somewhat harsher than would be that of a man 
who had resided among that class all his life, but it neverthe- 
less contains some valuable truths, and is, at least, cm-ious on 
account of the source whence it comes. 

"In Lima, and, indeed, throughout the whole of Peru, the 
free negroes are a plague to society. Too indolent to support 
themselves by laborious industry, they readily fall into any dis- 
honest means of getting money. Almost all the robbers that 
infest the roads on the coast of Peru are free negroes. Dis- 
honesty seems to be a part of their very nature ; and, moreover, 


as the type of wliicli I have taken the negro of 
"Western Africa, I shall now proceed to examine 

all their tastes and inclinations are coarse and sensual. Many 
■warm defenders excuse these qualities by ascribing them to the 
■want of education, the recollection of slavery, the spirit of re- 
venge, etc. Eut I here speak of free-born negroes, who are 
admitted into the houses of wealthy families, "who, from their 
early childhood, have received as good an education as falls to 
the share of many of the white Creoles — who are treated with 
kindness and liberally remunerated, and yet they do not differ 
from their half-savage brethren who are shut out from these 
advantages. If the negro has learned to read and write, and has 
thereby made some little advance in education, he is transformed 
into a conceited coxcomb, who, instead of plundering travellers 
on the highway, finds in city life a sphere for the indulgence of 
his evil propensities. . . . My opinion is, that the negroes, 
in respect to capability for mental improvement, are far behind 
the Europeans ; and that, considered in the aggregate, they will 
not, even "with the advantages of careful education, attain a very 
high degree of cultivation. This is apparent from the structure 
of the skull, on which depends the development of the brain, 
and "which, in the negro, approximates closely to the animal 
form. The imitative faculty of the monkey l^ighiy developed 
in the negro, "who readily seizes anything merely mechanical, 
■whilst things demanding intelligence are beyond his reach. 
Sensuality is the impulse which controls the thoughts, the acts, 
the -whole existence of the negroes. To them, freedom can be 
only nominal, for if they conduct themselves well, it is because 
they are compelled, not because they are inclined to do so. 
Herein lie at once the cause of, and the apology for, their bad 
character." [Travels in Peru, London, 1848, p. 110, et passim.) 



the moral and intellectual characteristics of the 
second in the scale — the yellow. 

This seems to form a complete antithesis to 
the former. In them, the skull, instead of being 
thrown backward, projects. The forehead is large, 
often jutting out, and of respectable height. The 
facial conformation is somewhat triangular, but 
neither chin nor nose has the rude, animalish 
development that characterizes the negro. A 
tendency to obesity is not precisely a specifio 
feature, but it is more often met with among the 
yellow races than among any others. In muscular 
vigor, in intensity of feelings and desires, they are 
greatly inferior to the black. They are supple and 
agile, but not strong. They have a decided taste 
for sensual pleasures, but their sensuality is less 
violent, and, if I may so call it, more vicious than 
the negro's, and less quickly appeased. They 
place a somewhat greater value upon human life 
than the negro does, but they are more cruel for 
the sake of cruelty. They are as gluttonous as 
the negro, but more fastidious in their choice of 
viands, as is proved by the immoderate attention 
bestowed on the culinary art among the more 
civilized of these races. In other words, the yel- 
low races are less impulsive than the black. Their 
will is characterized by obstinacy rather than 
38 •• 


energetic violence ; their anger is vindictive 
ratlier than clamorous ; their cruelty more studied 
than passionate ; their sensuality more refinedly 
vicious than absorbing. They are, therefore, sel- 
dom prone to extremes. In morals; as in intellect, 
they display a mediocrity : they are given to gro- 
velling vices rather than to dark crimes ; when 
virtuous, they are so oftener from a sense of prac- 
tical usefulness than from exalted sentiments. In 
regard to intellectual capacity, they easily under- 
stand whatever is not very profound, nor very 
sublime; they have a keen appreciation of the 
useful and practical, a great love of quiet and 
order, and even a certain conception of a slight 
modicum of personal or municipal liberty. The 
yellow races are practical people in the narrowest 
sense of the word. They have little scope of 
imagination, and therefore invent but little : for 
great inventions, even the most exclusively utili- 
tarian, require a high degree of the imaginative 
faculty. But they easily understand and adopt 
whatever is of practical utility. The summum 
honum of their desires and aspirations is to pass 
smoothly and quietly through life. 

It is apparent from this sketch, that they are 
superior to the blacks in aptitude and intellectual 
capacity. A theorist who would form some model 


society, might wish such a population to form the 
substratum upon which to erect his structure ; but 
a society, composed entirely of such elements, 
would display neither great stamina nor capacity 
for anything great and exalted. 

"We are now arrived at the third and last of the 
" primary" varieties — the white. Among them we 
find great physical vigor and capacity of endur- 
ance ; an intensity of will and desire, but which 
is balanced and governed by the intellectual facul- 
ties. Great things are undertaken, but not blindly, 
not without a full appreciation of the obstacles to 
be overcome, and with a systematic effort to over- 
come them. The utilitarian tendency is strong, 
but is united with a powerful imaginative faculty, 
which elevates, ennobles, idealizes it. Hence, the 
power of invention ; while the negro can merely 
imitate, the Chinese only utilize, to a certain ex- 
tent, the practical results attained by the white, 
the latter is continually adding new ones to those 
already gained. His capacity for combination of 
ideas leads him perpetually to construct new facts 
from the fragments of the old ; hurries him along 
through a series of unceasing modifications and 
changes. He has as keen a sense of order as the 
man of the yellow race, but not, like him, from 


love of repose and inertia, but from a desire to 
protect and preserve liis acquisitions. At the 
same time, lie has an ardent love of liberty, which 
is often carried to an extreme ; an instinctive aver- 
sion to the trammels of that rigidly formalistic 
organization under which the Chinese vegetates 
with luxurious ease; and he as indignantly rejects 
the haughty despotism which alone proves a sufii- 
cient restraint for the black races. 

The white man is also characterized by a sin- 
gular love of life. Perhaps it is because he knows 
better how to make use of it than other races, that 
he attaches to it a greater value and spares it more 
both in himself and in others. In«the extreme of 
his cruelty, he is conscious of his excesses; a sen- 
timent which it may well be doubted whether it 
exist among the blacks. Yet though he loves life 
better than other races, he has discovered a num- 
ber of reasons for sacrificing it or laying it down 
without murmur. His valor, his bravery, are not 
brute, unthinking passions, not the result of cal- 
lousness or impassivity : they spring from exalted, 
though often erroneous, sentiments, the principal 
of which is expressed by the word " honor," This, 
feeling, under a variety of names and applications, 
has formed the mainspring of action of most of the 


wliite races since the beginning of historical times. 
It accommodates itself to every mode of existence, 
to every walk of life. It is as puissant in the 
pulpit and at the martyr's stake, as on the field of 
battle ; in the most peaceful and humble pursuits 
of life as in the highest and most stirring. It were 
impossible to define all the ideas which this word 
comprises ; they are better felt than expressed. 
But this feeling — we might call it instinctive — is 
unknown to the yellow, and unknown to the black 
races : while in the white it quickens every noble 
sentiment — the sense of justice, liberty, patriotism, 
love, religion — it has no name in the language, no 
place in the hearts, of other races. This I consider 
as the principal reason of the superiority of our 
branch of the human family over all others ; be- 
cause even in the lowest, the most debased of our 
race, we generally find some spark of this redeem- 
ing trait, and however misapplied it may often be, 
and certainly is, it prevents us, even in our deepest 
errors, from falling so fearfully low as the others. 
The extent of moral abasement in which we find so 
many of the yellow and black races is absolutely- 
impossible even to the very refuse of our society. 
The latter may equal, nay, surpass them in crime ; 
but even they would shudder at that hideous abyss 


of corrosive vices, wliicli opens before tlie friend of 
humanity on a closer study of these races.* 

Before concluding this picture, I would add that 
the immense superiority of the white races in all 
that regards the intellectual faculties, is joined to 
an inferiority as strikingly marked, in the intensity 
of sensations. Though his whole structure is more 
vigorous, the white man is less gifted in regard to 
the perfection of the senses than either the black 
or the yellow, and therefore less solicited and less 
absor'^ed by animal gratifications. 

I have now arrived at the historical portion of 
my subject. There I shall place the truths 
enounced in this volume in a clearer light, and 
furnish irrefi'agable proofs of the fact, which forms 
the basis of my theory, that nations degenerate 
only in consequence and in proportion to their 
admixture with an inferior race— that a society 
receives its death-blow when, from the number of 
diverse ethnical elements which it comprises, a 
number of diverse modes of thinking and inter- 
ests contend for predominance ; when these modes 

' The sickening moral degradation of some of the branches of 
our species is well known to the student of anthropology, though, 
for obvious reasons, details of this kind cannot find a place in 
books destined for the general reader. — H. 


of thinking, and tliese interests have arisen in 
such multiplicity that every effort to harmonize 
them, to make them subservient to some great 
purpose, is in vain; when, therefore, the only 
natural ties that can bind large masses of men, 
homogeneity of thoughts and feelings, are severed, 
the only solid foundation of a social structure 
sapped and rotten. 

To furnish the necessary details for this asser- 
tion, to remove the possibility of even the slight- 
est doubt, I shall take up separately, every great 
and independent civilization that the world has 
seen flourish. I shall trace its first beginnings, its 
subsequent stages of development, its decadence 
and final decay. Here, then, is the proper test of 
my theory ; here we can see the laws that govern 
ethnical relations in full force on a magnificent 
scale ; we can verify their inexorably uniform and 
rigorous application. The subject is immense, the 
panorama spread before us the grandest and most 
imposing that the philosopher can contemplate, 
for its tableaux comprise the scene of action of 
every instance where man has really worked out 
his mission " to have dominion over the earth." 

The task is great— too great, perhaps, for any 
one's undertaking. Yet, on a more careful investi- 
gation, many of the apparently insuperable difS.- 


cnlties ■which, discouraged the inquirer will vanish ; 
in the gorgeous succession of scenes that meet his 
glance, he will perceive a uniformity, an intimate 
relation and connection which, like Ariadne's 
thread, will enable the undaunted and persevering 
student to find his way through the mazes of the 
labyrinth: we shall find that every civilization 
owes its origin, its development, its splendors, to 
the agency of the white races. In China and in 
India, in the vast continent of the West, centuries 
ere Columbus found it — it was one of the group 
of white races that gave the impetus, and, so long 
as it lasted, sustained it. Startling as this asser- 
tion may appear to a great number of readers, 
I hope to demonstrate its correctness by incon- 
trovertible historical testimony. Everywhere the 
white races have taken the initiative, everywhere 
they have brought civilization to the others — 
everywhere they have sown the seed : the vigor 
and beauty of the plant depended on whether the 
soil it found was congenial or not. 

The migrations of the white race, therefore, 
afford us at once a guide for our historical re- 
searches, and a clue to many apparently inexpli- 
cable mysteries: we shall learn to understand why, 
in a vast country, the development of civilization 
has come to a stand, and been superseded by a 


retrogressive movement; why, in another, all but 
feeble traces of a bigli state of culture has vanish- 
ed without apparent cause ; why people, the lowest 
in the scale of intellect, are yet found in possession 
of arts and mechanical processes that would do 
honor to a highly intellectual race. 

Among the group of white races, the noblest, 
the most highly gifted in intellect and personal 
beauty, the most active in the cause of civilization, 
is the Arian^ race. Its history is intimately asso- 

* As many of the terms of modern ethnography have not yet 
found their way into the dictionaries, I shall oflFer a short expla- 
nation of the meaning of this word, for the benefit of those 
readers who have not paid particular attention to that science. 

The word " Arian" is derived from Aryas or Apioj, respectively 
the indigenous and the Greek designation of the ancient Medes, 
and is applied to a race, or rather a family of races, whose ori- 
ginal ethnological area is not as yet accurately defined, but who 
have gradually spread from the centre of Asia to the mouth of 
the Ganges, to the British Isles, and the northern extremities of 
Scandinavia. To this family of races belong, among others, 
the ancient Medes and Persians, the white conquerors of India 
(now forming the caste of the Brahmins), and the Germanic races. 
The whole group is often called Indo-European. The affinities 
between the Greek and the German languages had long been an 
interesting question to philologists ; but Schlegel, I believe, was 
the first to discover the intimate relations between these two 
and the Sanscrit, and he applied to the whole three, and their 
collateral branches, the name of Indo-Germanic languages. 



ciated with almost every effort on the part of man 
to develop his moral and intellectual powers. 

It now remains for me to trace out the field of 
inquiry into which I propose to enter in the suc- 
ceeding volumes. The list of great, independent 
civilizations is not long. Among all the innumer- 
able nations that " strutted their brief hour on the 
stage" of the world, ten only have arrived at the 
state of complete societies, giving birth to distinct 
modes of intellectual culture. All the others 
were imitators or dependents ; like planets they 
revolved around, and derived their light from the 

The discovery attracted the attention both of philologists and 
ethnographers, and it is now indubitably proved that the civil- 
izers of India, and the subverters of the Roman Empire are 
descended from the same ethnical stock. It is known that the 
Sanscrit is as unlike all other Indian languages, as the high- 
caste Brahmins are unlike the Pariahs and all the other abori- 
ginal races of that country ; and Latham has lately come to the 
conclusion that it has actually been carried to India from Europe. 
It will be seen from this that Mr. Gobineau, in his view of the 
origin of various civilizations, is supp&rted in at least several of 
the most important instances. 

It is a familiar saying that civilization travels westward: if 
we believe ethnologists, the Arian races have always migrated 
in that direction — from Central Asia to India, to Asia Minor, to 
Egypt, to Greece, to Western Europe, to the western coasts of 
the Atlantic, and the same impulse of migration is now carrying 
them to the Pacific. — H. 


suns of the systems to wliich they belonged. At 
the head of my list I would place : — 

1. The Indian civilization. It spread among 
the islands of the Indian Ocean, towards the north, 
beyond the Himalaya Mountains, and towards 
the east, beyond the Brahmapootra. It was origi- 
nated by a white race of the Arian stock. 

2. The Egyptian civilization comes next. As 
its satellites may be mentioned the less perfect 
civilizations of the Ethiopians, Nubians, and seve- 
ral other small peoples west of the oasis of Am- 
mon. An Arian colony from India, settled in the 
upper part of the Nile valley, had established this 

8. The Assyrians, around whom rallied the 
Jews, Phenicians, Lydians, Carthaginians, and Hy- 
miarites, were indebted for their social intelligence 
to the repeated invasions of white populations. 
The Zoroastrian Iranians, who flourished in Fur- 
ther Asia, under the names of Medes, Persians, 
and Bactrians, were all branches of the Arian 

4. The Greeks belonged to the same stock, but 
were modified by Shemitic elements, which, in 
course of time, totally transformed their character. 

5. China presents the precise counterpart of 
Egypt. The light of civilization was carried 


thitlier by Arian colonies. The substratum of tbe 
social structure was composed of elements of the 
yellow race, but the white civilizers received rein- 
forcements of their blood at various times. 

6. The ancient civilization of the Italian penin- 
sula (the Etruscan civilization), was developed by 
a mosaic of populations of the Celtic, Iberian, and 
Shemitic stock, but cemented by Arian elements. 
From it emerged the civilization of Eome. 

7. Our civilization is indebted for its tone and 
character to the Germanic conquerors of the fifth 
century. They were a branch of the Arian family. 

8. 9, 10. Under these heads I class the three 
civilizations of the western continent, the AUe- 
ghanian, the Mexican, and the Peruvians. 

This is the field I have marked out for my in- 
vestigations, the results of which will be laid before 
the reader in the succeeding volumes. The first 
part of my work is here at an end — the vestibule 
of the structure I wish to erect is completed. 


By J. C. NO TT, M. D., 





I HAVE seldom perused a work wliicli has af- 
forded me so mucli pleasure and instruction as the 
one of Count Gobineau, " Sur Vlnegalite des Races 
Surfiaines^'' and regard most of his conclusions as 
incontrovertible. There are, however, a few points 
in his argument which should not be passed with- 
out comment, and others not sufficiently elaborated. 
My original intention was to say much, but, for- 
tunately for me, my colleague, Mr. Hotz, has so 
fully and ably anticipated me, in his Introduction 
and Notes, as to leave me little of importance to 

The essay of Count Gobineau is eminently prac- 
tical and useful in its design. He views the 
various races of men rather as a historian than 
a naturalist, and while he leaves open the long 
mooted question of unity of origin, he so fully 
establishes the 'permanency of the actual moral, 
intellectual, and physical diversities of races as to 
leave no ground for antagonists to stand upon. 
Whatever remote causes may be assigned, there is 


no appeal from tlie conclusion that wHte, black, 
Mongol, and other races were fully developed in 
nations some 8000 years before Christ, and that 
no physical causes, during this long course of time, 
have been in operation, to change one type of man 
into another. Count Gobineau, therefore, accepts 
the existing diversity of races as at least an accom- 
plished fact^ and draws lessons of wisdom from the 
plain teachings of history. Man with him ceases 
to be an abstraction; each race, each nation, is 
made a separate study, and a fertile but unex- 
plored field is opened to our view. 

Our author leans strongly towards a belief in 
the original diversity of races, but has evidently 
been much embarrassed in arriving at conclusions 
by religious scruples and by the want of accurate 
knowledge in that part of natural history which 
treats of the designation of species^ and the laws of 
hyhridity ; he has been taught to believe that two 
distinct species cannot produce perfectly prolific 
offspring, and therefore concludes that all races of 
men must be of one origin, because they are pro- 
lific inter se. My appendix will therefore be de- 
voted mainly to this question of species: 




Our author lias taken the facts of Dr. Morton at 
second hand, and, moreover, had not before him Dr. 
Morton's later tables and more matured deductions; 
I shall therefore give an abstract of his results as 
published by himself in 1849, with some comments of 
my own. The figures represent the internal capacity 
of the skull in cubic inches, and were obtained by fill- 
ing the cavity with shot and afterwards pouring them 
into an accurately graduated measure. 

It must be admitted that the collection of Morton is 
not sufficiently full in all its departments to enable 
us to arrive at the absolute capacity of crania in the 
different races ; but it is sufficiently complete to esta- 
blish beyond cavil, the fact that the crania of the white 
are much larger than those of the dark races. His 
table is very incomplete in Mongol, Malays, and some 
others ; but in the white races of Europe, the black 
races, and the American, the results are substantially 
correct. I have myself had ample opportunities for 
examining the heads of living negroes and Indians of 
America, as well as a considerable number of crania, 
and can fully indorse Dr. Morton's results. It will be 
seen that his skulls of American aborigines amount to 



Table, shoioing the Size of the Brain in Cubic Inches, 
as obtained by the Measurement of 623 Crania of 
various Races and Families of Man. 

4J "3 ^ 



(M CD 





Teutonic Family — Germans . . 




90 1 


" << English . . . 






" " Anglo-Americans 




90 , 


Pelasgio Family — Persians . . . 

I 10 

'* " Armenians . . 




" " Circassians . . 


Celtic Family — Native Irish . . 





Indostantc Family— Bengalees, &o. 





Shemitic Family — Arabs . . . 





Nilotic Family — Fellahs .... 






Pelasgic Family — Greco-Egyptians 

(from Catacombs) 





Nilotic Family — Egyptians (from 

Catacombs) ....... 






Chinese Family 






Malayan Family 





1 85 

Polynesian Family 






Toltecan Family — Peruvians . . 




75 - 

" " Mexicans . . 





Barbakofs Tribes — Iroquois . . 


'< " Lenape . . 




84 . 

«« " Cherokee . . 

" " Shoshon^, &c. 



Native Afbican Family .... 





1 9.<t 

Amekican-born Negroes . . . 




82 /"" 

Hottentot Family 





Alfobean Family — Australians 






Dr. Morton's mind, it will be seen by this table, 
had not yet freed itself from the incubus of artificial 
and unnatural classifications. Like Tiedemann and 
others, he has grouped together races which have not 
the slightest affinity in physical, moral, or linguistic 
characters. In the Caucasian group, for example, 
are placed the Teutonic, Indostanic, Shemitic, and Ni- 
lotic families, each of which, it can be shown, has 
existed utterly distinct for 5000 years, not to mention 
many subdivisions. 

The table of Dr. Morton affords some curious results. 
His ancient Pelasgic heads and those of the modern 
white races, give the same size of brain, viz : 88 cubic 
inches ; and his ancient Egyptians and their modern 
representatives, the Fellahs, yield the same mean, 80 
cubic inches ; the difference between the two groups 
being 8 cubic inches. These facts have a strong 
bearing on the question of permanence of types. The 
small-headed Hindoos present the same cranial capacity 
as the Egyptians, and though these races have each 
been the repository of early civilization, it is a question 
whether either was the originator of civilization. The 
Egyptian race, from the earliest monumental dawn, 
exhibits Shemitic adulteration ; and Latham proves that 
the Sanscrit language was not indigenous to India, but 
was carried there from Northern Europe in early ages 
by conquerors. 

Again, in the negro group, while it is absolutely 
shown that certain African races, whether born in 


Africa, or of the tenth descent in America, give a 
cranial capacity almost identical, 83 cubic inches ; we 
see, on the contrary, the Hottentot and Australian 
yielding a mean of but 75 inches, thereby showing a 
like difference of eight cubic inches. 

In the American group, also, the same parallel holds 
good. The Toltecan family, the most civilized race, 
exhibit a mean of but It inches, while the barbarous 
tribes give 84, that is, a difference of 1 inches in favor 
of the savage. While, however, the Toltecans have 
the smaller heads, they are, according to Combe, much 
more developed in the anterior or intellectual lobes, 
which may serve to explain this apparent paradox. 

When we compare the highest and lowest races with 
each other, the contrast becomes still more striking, 
viz : the Teutonic with the Hottentot and Australian. 
The former family gives a mean capacity of 92 inches, 
while the latter two yield but 15, or a difference of IT 
cubic inches between the skulls of these types ! 

Now, as far back as history and monuments carry us, 
as well as crania and other testimonies, these various 
types have hQQw permanent ; and most of them we can 
trace back several thousand years. If such permanence 
of type through thousands of years, and in defiance of 
all climatic influences, does not establish specific cha- 
racters, then is the naturalist at sea without a compass 
to guide him. 

These facts determine clearly the arbitrary nature of 
all classifications heretofore adopted ; the Teuton, the 


Jew, the Hindoo, the Egyptian, &c., have all been 
included under the terra Caucasian; and yet they have, 
as far as we know, been through all time as distinct 
in physical and moral characters from each other, as 
they have from the negro races of Africa and Oceanica. 
The same diversity of types is found among all the 
other groups, or arbitrary divisions of the human family. 

Rich and rare as is the collection of Dr. Morton, it 
is very defective in many of its divisions, and it occurred 
to me that this deficiency might to some degree be sup- 
plied by the hat manufacturers of various nations ; 
notwithstanding that the information derived from this 
source could give but one measurement, viz : the hori- 
zontal periphery. Yet this one measurement alone, on 
an extended scale, would go far towards determining 
the general size of the brain. I accordingly applied to 
three hat dealers in Mobile, and a large manufacturer 
in NeiV Jersey, for statements of the relative number of 
hats of each size sold to adult males ; their tables agree 
so perfectly as to leave no doubt as to the circum- 
ference of the heads of the white population of the 
United States. The three houses together dispose of 
about 15,000 hats annually. 

The following table was obligingly sent me by 
Messrs. Yail & Yates, of Newark; and they accom- 
panied it with the remark, that their hats w^ere sent 
principally to our Western States, where there is a 
large proportion of German population ; also that the 


sizes of these hats were a little larger (about one fourth 
of an inch) than those sold in the Southern States. 
This remark was confirmed by the three dealers in 
Mobile. Our table gives, 1st. The number or size of 
the hat. 2d. The circumference of the head correspond- 
ing. 3d. The circumference of the hat ; and lastly, the 
relative proportion of each No. sold out of 12 hats. 

Size — inches. 

Circum. of head. 

Circuin. of hat. 


prop, in 12. 
























24 1- 


All hats larger than these are called "extra sizes." 
The average size, then, of the crania of white races 
in the United States, is about 22^ inches circum- 
ference, including the hair and scalp, for which about 
1-|- inches should be deducted, leaving'a mean horizon- 
tal periphery, for adult males, of 21 inches. The 
measurements of the purest Teutonic races in Grermany 
and other countries, would give a larger mean ; and I 
have reason to believe that the population of France, 
which is principally Celtic, would yield a smaller mean. 
I hope that others will extend these observations. 

Dr. Morton's measurements of aboriginal American 
races, give a mean of but 19^ inches ; and this state- 
ment is greatly strengthened by the fact that the 
Mexicans and other Indian races wear much smaller 


hats than our white races. (See Types of Mankind, p. 
289 and 453.) 

Prof. Tiederaann, of Heidelberg, asserts that the head 
of the negro is as large as that of the white man, but 
this we have shown to be an error. {Types of Man- 
hind, p. 453.) 

Tiedemann adopted the vulgar error of grouping 
together under the term Caucasian, all the Indo-Ger- 
manic, Shemitic, and Nilotic races ; also all the black 
and dark races of Africa under the term Negro. Now 
I have shown that the Hindoo and Egyptian races 
possess about 12 cubic inches less of brain than the 
Teutonic ; and the Hottentots about 8 inches less than 
the Negro proper. I aflBrm that no valid reason has 
ever been assigned why the Teuton and Hindoo, or 
Hottentot and Negro, should be classed together in 
their cranial measurements. I can discover no facts 
which can assign a greater age to one of these races 
than another ; and unless Professor Tiedemann can 
overcome these difficulties, he has no right to assume 
identity for the various races he is pleased to group 
under each of his arbitrary divisions. Mummies from 
the catacombs, and portraits on the monuments, show 
that the heads of races on both sides of the Red Sea 
have remained unchanged 4000 years. 

As Dr. Morton tabulated his skulls on the same 
arbitrary basis, I abandon his arrangement and present 
his facts as they stand in nature, allowing the reader to 
compare and judge for himself. ' The following table 



gives the internal capacity in cubic inches, and it will be 
seen that the measurements arrange themselves in a 
sliding scale of It cubic inches from the Teuton down 
to the Hottentot and Australian. 

Internal Capacity of Brain in Cuhic Inches. 

KACES. Internal capacity. Internal capacity. 



Modern White Races — ■ 

Teutonic group ... 92 


Pelasgic " 


Celtic " 



Shemitic " 

89 3 

Ancient Pelasgic 


Malays . 
Chinese . 

85 1 
82 1 


Negroes (African) 




80 -^ 

Fellahs (modern Egyptians) 

SO (. 


Egyptians (ancient) . 

80 ; 

American Group — 

Toltecan family . . . 77 ") 


Barbarous tribes . . . 84 J 






Australians . . . . 75 ) 

Such has been, through several thousand years, the 
incessant commingling of races, that we are free to 
admit that absolute accuracy in measurements of crania 
cannot now be attained. Yet so constant are the 
results in contrasting groups, that no unprejudiced 
mind can deny that there is a wide and well-marked 
disparity in the cranial developments of races. 



As the discussion stands at tlie present day, we may- 
assume that the scientific world is pretty equally di- 
vided on the question of unity of the human family, 
and the point is to be settled by facts, and not by 
names. Natural history is a comparatively new and 
still rapidly progressing science, and the study of man 
has been one of the last departments to attract serious 
attention. Blumenbach and Prichard, who may be 
regarded among the early explorers in this vast field, 
have but recently been numbered with the dead ; and 
we may safely assert that the last ten years have 
brought forth materials which have shed an entirely new 
light on this subject. 

Mr. Agassiz, Dr. Morton, Prof. Leidy, and many 
other naturalists of the United States, contend for an 
original diversity in the races of men, and we shall 
proceed to give some of the reasons why we have 
adopted similar views. Two of the latest writers of 
any note on the opposite side are the Rev. Dr. Bach- 
man, of Charleston, and M. Flourens, of Paris; and 
as these gentlemen have very fully travelled over the 
argument opposed to us, we shall take the liberty, 
in the course of our remarks, to offer some objections 
to their views. 

The great difficulty in this discussion is, to define 


clearly what meaning should be attached to the term 
species; and to the illustration of this point, mainly, 
will our labors be confined. Genera are, for the most 
part, well defined by anatomical characters, and little 
dispute exists respecting them; but no successful at- 
tempt has yet been made to designate species in this 
way, and it is by their permanency of type alone, as 
ascertained from written or monumental records, that 
our decision can be guided. 


The following definitions of species have been se- 
lected by Dr. Bachman, and may be received as unex- 
ceptionable as any others ; but we shall show that they 
fall far short of the true difficulties of the case. 

"We are under the necessity of admitting the existence of 
certain forms, "which have perpetuated themselves, from the 
beginning of the world, without exceeding the limits prescribed: 
all the individuals belonging to one of these forms constitute a 
species." — Cuvier. 

"We unite under the designation species all those individuals 
who mutually bear to each other so close a resemblance as to 
allow of our supposing that they may have proceeded originally 
from a single being, or a single pair." — De Candolle. 

"The name species is applied to an assemblage of individuals 
which bear a strong resemblance to each other, and which are 
perpetuated with the same essential qualities. Thus man, the 
dog, the horse, constitute to the zoologist so many distinct spe- 
cies." — Milne Edwards and Achille Compte. 

We have no objection to this definition, but the ex- 
amples cited are points in dispute, and not received by 
many of the leading naturalists of the day. 


"Species are fixed and permanent forms of being, exhibiting 
indeed certain modes of variation, of wliicli they may be more 
or less susceptible, but maintaining throughout those modifica- 
tions a sameness of structural essentials, transmitted from gene- 
ration to generation, and never lost by the influence of causes 
■which otherwise produce obvious effects. Varieties are either 
accidental or the result of the care and culture of man.'" — 

Dr. Bachman gives another, substantially the same, 
from Agassiz ; and also one of Ms own, to wliicli he 
appends, as an additional test of species, the produc- 
tion of "fertile offspring hy association.^^ In this de- 
finition the doctor assumes one of the main points in 

" Varieties,'''' says Dr. P.achman, "are those that are produced 
•within the limits of particular species, and have not existed 
from its origin. They sometimes originate in wild species, espe- 
cially those that have a wide geographical range, and are thus 
exposed to change of climate and temperature," &c. * * -^s- 
^'Permanent varieties are such as, having once taken place, are 
propagated in perpetuity, and do not change their characteristics 
unless they breed -with other varieties." 

We may remark that the existence of such permanent 
varieties as here described is also in dispute. 
The same author continues : — 

" On comparing these definitions, as given by various natural- 
ists, each in his own language, it will be perceived that there is 
no essential difference in the various views expressed in regard 
to the characters by which a species is designated. They all 
regard it as ' the lowest term to which we descend, with the ex- 
ception of varieties, such as are seen in domestic animals.' They 
are, to examine the external and internal organization of the 

Natural History of Man and Monkeys. 


animal or plant — they are, to compare it with kindred species, 
and if by this examination they are found to possess permanent 
characters differing from those of other species, it proves itself to be 
a distinct species. AVhen this fact is satisfactorily ascertained, and 
the specimen is not found a domestic species, in which varieties 
always occur, presumptive evidence is afforded of its having had 
a primordial existence. We infer this from the fact that no 
species is the production of blind chance, and that within the 
knowledge of history no true species, but varieties only, whose 
origin can be distinctly traced to existing and well-known species, 
have made their appearance in the world. This, then, is the 
only means within the knowledge of man by which any species 
of plant or animal can be shown to be primordial. The peculiar 
form and characters designated the species, and its origin was a 
necessary inference derived from the characters stamped on it 
by the hand of the Creator." 

To all the positions thus far taken by Dr. Bachman, 
we most cheerfully subscribe ; they are strictly scien- 
tific, and by such criterea alone do we desire to test the 
unity of the human family ; but we must enter a decided 
demurrer to the assertion which follows, viz : that, "ac- 
cording to the universally received definition of species, 
all the individuals of the human race are proved to be 
of one species." When it shall be shown that all the 
races of men, dogs, horses, cattle, wolves, foxes, &c., 
are "varieties only, lohose origin can he distinctly traced 
to existing and well-hnown species,''^ we may then yield 
the point ; but we must be permitted to say that Dr. 
Bachman is the only naturalist, as far as we know, who 
has assumed to know these original types. 

Now, if the reader will turn back and review care- 
fully all the definitions of speci(3s cited, he will perceive 


that they are not based upon anatomical characters, but 
simply on the permanency of certain organic forms, 
and that this permanence of form is determined by its 
history alone. 

Professor Owen, of London, has thrown the weight 
of his great name into the scale, and tells us that "man 
is the sole species of his genus, the sole representative 
of his order." But proving that man is not a monkey, 
as the professor has done in the lecture alluded to, does 
not prove that men are all of one species, according to 
any definition yet received : he has made the assertion, 
but has assigned no scientific reasons to sustain it. No 
one would be more rejoiced than ourselves, to see the 
great talent and learning of Professor Owen brought 
fully to bear on this point ; but, like most naturalists, 
he has overlooked one of the most important points in 
thisfdiscussion — the monumental history of man. 

Will Professor Owen or Dr, Bacliman tell us wherein 
the lion and tiger — the dog, wolf, fox, and jackal — the 
fossil horse, and living species — the Siberian mammoth 
and the Indian elephant, differ more from each other 
than the white man and the negro ? Are not all these 
regarded by naturalists as distinct species, and yet who 
pretends to be able to distinguish the skeleton of one 
from the other by specific characters ? 

The examples just cited, of living species, have been 
decided upon simply from their permanency of type, as 
derived from their history ; and we say that, by the 


same process of reasoning, the races of men depicted 
on the monuments of Egypt, five thousand years ago, 
and which have maintained their types through all time 
and all climates since, are distinct species. 

Dr. Morton defines species — "a primordial organic 
form," and determines these forms by their permanence 
through all human records; and Mr. Agassiz, who 
adopts this definition, adds: "Species are thus distinct 
forms of organic life, the origin of which is lost in the 
primitive establishment of the state of things now ex- 
isting ; and varieties are such modification of the spe- 
cies as may return to the typical form under temporary 

Dr. Bachman objects very strongly to this definition, 
and declares it a "cunning device, and, to all intents, 
an ex post facto law," suddenly conjured up during a 
controversy, to avoid the difficulties of the case ; but 
we have serious doubts whether these gentlemen are 
capable of such subterfuge in matters of science, 
and confess that we cannot see any substantial differ- 
ence between their definition and those given by 
Dr. Bachman. Morton and Agassiz determine a form 
to be " primordiaV^ by its permanency, as proved by 
history, and the other definitions assign no other 

Professor Leidy, who has not only studied the "lower 
departments of zoology," like Mr. Agassiz, but also 
the "higher forms of animal life," says that "too 


mucli importance has been attaclied to the term spe- 
cies," and gives the following definition : "A species 
of plant or animal may be defined to be an immutable 
organic form, whose characteristic distinctions may 
always be recognized by a study of its history.'''''^ 

M. Jourdain, under the head "Espfece," in his Die- 
tionnaire des Termes des Sciences Natiirelles, after citing 
a long list of definitions from leading authors, con- 
cludes with the following remarks, which, as the ques- , 
tion now stands before the world, places the term spe- 
cies just where it should be : — 

"It is e-vident that we can, among organized bodies, regard as 
a species only such a collection of beings as resemble each other 
more than they resemble others, and which, by a consent more 
or less unanimous, it is agreed to designate by a common name ; 
for a species is but a simple abstraction of the mind, and not a 
group, exactly determined by nature herself, as ancient as she 
is, and of which she has irrevocably traced the limits. It is iu 
the definition of species that we recognize how far the influence 
of ideas adopted without examination in youth is powerful in 
obscuring the most simple ideas of general physics." 

Although not written with the expectation of publi- 
cation, I will take the liberty of publishing the follow- 
ing private letter just received from Prof. Leidy. He 
has not appeared at all in this controversy before the 
public, and we may safely say that no one can be better 
qualified than he is to express an opinion on this ques- 
tion of species. 

' Fauna and Flora within Living Animals, p. 9. 


"With all the contention about the question of ■what consti- 
tutes a species, there appears to be almost no difficulty., compara- 
tively, in its practical recognition. Species of plants and animals 
are daily determined, and the characters which are given to dis- 
tinguish them are viewed by the great body of naturalists as 
sufficient. All the definitions, however, which have been given 
for a species, are objectionable. !Morton says: 'A species is a 
primordial organic form.' But how shall we distinguish the 
latter ? How can it be proved that any existing forms prim- 
ordially were distinct ? In my attempted definition, I think, I 
fail, for I only direct how species are discovered. 

"According to the practical determination of a species by 
naturalists, in a late number of the Froceedings of our Academy 
(vol. vii. p. 201), I observe: *A species is a mere convenient 
word with which naturalists empirically designate groups of 
organized beings possessing characters of comparative con- 
stancy, as far as historic experience has guided them in giving 
due weight to such constancy.' 

"According to this definition, the races of men are evidently 
distinct species. But it may be said that the definition is given 
to suit the circumstances. So it is, and so it should be ; or, if 
not, then all characterized species should conform to an arbi- 
trary definition. The species of gypsetus, halisetus, tanagra, 
and of many other genera of birds, are no more distinguishable 
than the species of men ; and, I repeat, the anatomy of one 
species of haliaetus, or of any other genus, will answer for that 
of all the other species of the same genus. The same is the 
case with mammals. One species of felis, ursus, or equus will 
give the exact anatomy of all the other species in each genus, 
just as you may study the anatomy of the white man upon the 
black man. While Prof. Richard Owen will compare the orang 
with man, and therefore deduce all races of the latter to be of 
one species, he divides the genus cervus into several other 
genera, and yet there is no difi'erence in their internal anatomy ; 
while he considers the horse and the ass as two distinct genera, 
and says that a certain fossil horse-tooth, carefully compared 
with the corresponding tooth of the receat horse, showed no dif- 
ferences, excepting in being a little more curved, he considers it 
a distinct species, under the name of equus curvideus ; and yet. 


with diiferences of greater value in the jaws of the negro and 
white man, he considers them the same. 

" In the restricted genera of vertebrata of modern naturalists, 
the specific characters are founded on the external appendages, 
for the most part — differences in the scales, horns, antlers, 
feathers, hairs, or bills. Just as you separate the black and 
white man by the difference in the color of the skin and the 
character of the hair, so do we separate the species of bears, or 
cats, &c. 

" Philadelphia, ApHl 18, 1855." 

We might thus go on and multiply, to the extent of 
an octavo volume, evidence to show how vague and un- 
settled is the term species among naturalists, and that, 
when we abandon historical records, we have no reliable 
guide left. Moreover, were we able to establish per- 
fectly reliable landmarks between species, we still have 
no means of determining whether they were originally 
created in one pair, or many pairs. The latter is cer- 
tainly the most rational supposition : there is every 
reason to believe that the earth and the sea brought 
forth "abundantly'''' of each species. 

It must be clear to the reader, from the evidence 
above adduced, that Dr. Bachman claims far too much 
when he asserts that — 

"Naturalists can be found, in Europe and America, who, 
without any vain boast, can distinguish every species of bird and 
quadi'uped on their separate continents ; and the characters 
which distinguish and separate the several species are as dis- 
tinct and infallible as are those which form the genera."' 

' Doctrine of the Unity of the Human Race, p. 10. 



And, again, when he says : — 

"From the opportunities we have enjoyed in the examination 
of the varieties and species of domesticated quadrupeds and 
birds, we have never found any difficulty in deciding on the spe- 
cies to which these varieties belong." 

Those of us who are still groping in darkness cer- 
tainly have a right to ask who^ are the authorities 
alluded to, and what are those "characters which dis- 
tinguish and separate species" as distinctly and infal- 
libly as "genera?" They are certainly not in print. 

The doctor must pardon us for reminding him that 
there is printed evidence that his own mind is not 
always free from doubts. In the introduction of Au- 
dubon and Bachman's Quadrupeds of America, p. vii., 
it is said : — 

"Although genera may be easily ascertained by the forms and 
dental arrangements peculiar to each, many species so nearly 
approach each other in size, while they are so variable in color, 
that it is exceedingly .difficult to separate them with positive 

Again, in speaking of the genus vulpes (foxes), the 
same work says : — 

"The characters of this genus differ so slightly from those of 
the genus cam's, that we are induced to pause before removing 
it from the sub-genus in which it had so long remained. As a 
general rule, we are obliged to admit that a large fox is a wolf, 
and a small wolf may be termed a fox. So inconveniently large, 
however, is the list of species in the old genus canis, that it is, 
we think, advisable to separate into distinct groups such species 
as possess any characters different from true wolves." 


Speaking of the origin of the domestic clog, Dr. Bach- 
man, in his work on Unity of Races, p. G3, says : — 

"Notwithstanding all these difficulties — and we confess we 
are not free from some doubts in regard to their identity (dog 
and wolf) — if we were called upon to decide on any wild species 
as the progenitor of our dogs, we would sooner fix upon the 
large wolf than on any other dog, hyena, or jackal," &c. 

The doctor is unable, here at least (and we can point 
out many other cases), to "designate species;" and the 
recent investigations of Flourens, at the Jardin des 
Plantes, prove him wrong as regards the origin of the 
dog. The dog is not derived from the "large wolf," 
but, with it, produces hybrids, sterile after the third 
generation. The dog forms a genus apart. 

We repeat, then, that in a large number o^ genera, the 
species cannot be separated by any anatomical charac- 
ters, and that it is from their history alone naturalists 
have arrived at those minute divisions now generally 
received. We may, without the fear of contradiction, 
go a step further, and assert that several of the races of 
men are as widely separated in physical organization, 
physiological and psychological characters, as are the 
canidge, equidoe, felines, elephants, bears and others. 
When the white races of Europe, the Mongols of Asia, 
the aborigines of America, the black races of Africa 
and Oceanica are placed beside each other, they are 
marked by stronger differences than are' the species of 
the genera above named. It has been objected that 
these gaps are iilled by intermediate links which make 


the chain complete from one extremity to the other. 
The admission of the fact does not invalidate our posi- 
tion, for we have shown elsewhere (see Types of Man- 
hind) gradation is the law of nature. The extreme 
types, we have proven, have been distinct for more than 
5000 years, and no existing causes during that time 
have transformed one type into another. The well- 
marked negro type, for example, stands face to face 
with the white type on the monuments of Egypt ; and 
they differ more from each other than the dog and 
wolf, ass and Equis Hemionus, lion and tiger, &c. 
The hair and skin, the size and shape of head, the 
pelvis, the extremities, and other points, separate cer- 
tain African andOceanican negroes more widely than the 
above species. This will not be questioned, whatever 
difference of opinion may exist with regard to the per- 
manency of these forms. In the language of Prof. 
Leidy, "the question to be determined is, whether the 
differences in the races of men are as permanent and of 
as much value as those which characterize species in 
the lower genera of animals." These races of men too 
are governed by the same laws of geographical dis- 
tribution, as the species of the lower genera ; they are 
found, as far back as history can trace them, as widely 
separated as possible, and surrounded by local Florae 
and Faunae. 


This term is very conveniently introduced to explain 
all the difficulties which embarrass this discussion. 
Dr. Bachman insists that all the races of men are mere 
varieties, and sustains the opinion by a repetition of 
those analogies which have been so often drawn from 
the animal kingdom by Prichard and his school. It 
is well known, that those animals which have been 
domesticated undergo, in a few generations, very re- 
markable changes in color, form, size, habits, &c. For 
example, all the hogs, black, white, brown, gray, 
spotted, &c., now found scattered over the earth, have, 
it is said, their parentage in one pair of wild hogs. 
"This being admitted," says Dr. B. "we invite the advo- 
cates of plurality in the human species to show wherein 
these varieties are less striking than their eight (allud- 
ing to Agassiz) originally created nations." Again — 

" And how has the discovery been made that all the per- 
manent races are mere varieties, and not ' originally created' 
species, or ' primitive varieties ?' Simply because the natural- 
ists of Germany, finding that the original wild hog still exists 
in their forests, have, in a thousand instances, reclaimed them 
from the woods. By this means they have discovered that their 
descendants, after a few generations, lose their ferocity, assume 

all colors," &c. 


The same reasoning is applied to horses, cattle, 

goats, sheep, &c., while manj^ if not most of the best 

naturalists of the day deny that we know anything of 

the origin of our domestic animals. Geoffrey St. 



Hilaire, in his work, just out, denies it in toto. We 
are, however, for the sake of argument, willing to 
admit all the examples, and all he claims with regard 
to the origin of endless varieties in domesticated 

Let us, on the other hand, " invite the advocates of 
unity of the human species" to say when and where 
such varieties have sprung up in the human family. 
We not only have the written history of man for 2000 
years, but his monumental history for 2000 more ; and 
yet, while the naturalists of Germany are catching wild 
hogs, and recording in a thousand instances " after a 
few generations" these wonderful changes, no one has 
yet pointed out anything analogous in the human 
family; the porcupine family in England, a few spotted 
Mexicans, &c., do not meet the case; history records 
the origin of no permanent variety. No race of men 
has in the same country turned black, brown, gray, 
white, and spotted. The negroes in America have not 
in ten generations turned to all colors, though fully 

' We are told that the pigs in one department of France are 
all black, in another, all white, and local causes are assigned ! 
When I was a boy, my father introduced what was then called 
the China hog into the Union District, South Carolina ; they 
were black, with white faces. On a visit to that district about 
twelve years ago, I found the whole country for 40 miles covered 
with them. On a visit one year ago, I found they had been 
supplanted entirely by other breeds of different colors : the old 
familiar type had disappeared. 


domesticated, like pigs and turkeys. The Jews in all 
countries for 2000 years are still Jews. The gypsies 
are everywhere still gypsies. In India, the diiferent 
castes, of different colors, have been living together 
several thousand years, and are still distinct, &c. &c. 

Nor does domestication affect all animals and fowls 
equally; compare the camel, ass, and deer, with the 
hog and dog ; the Guinea fowl, pea fowl, and goose, 
with pigeons, turkeys, and common fowls. In fact, no 
one animal can be taken as an analogue for another : 
each has its own physiological laws ; each is influenced 
differently and in different degrees by the same external 
influences. How, then, can an animal be taken as an 
analogue for man? 

We have also abundant authority to show that all 
wild species do not present the same uniformity in ex- 
ternal characters. 

<' All packs of American -wolves usually consist of various 
shades of color, and varieties nearly black have been occasion- 
ally found in every part of the United States In 

a gang of wolves which existed in Colleton District, South Caro- 
lina, a few years ago (sixteen of which were killed by hunters 
in eighteen months), we were informed that about one-fifth were 
black, and the others of every shade of color, from black to 
dusky gray and yellowish white."— Audubon & Bachman, 2d 
Amer. ed., vol. ii. pp. 130-1. 

- Speaking of the white American wolf, the same 

authors say: — 

" Their gait and movements are precisely the same as those 
of the common dog, and their mode of copulating and number 
of young brought forth at a litter, are about the same." (Itmight 


have been added that their number of bones, teeth, -whole ana- 
tomical structure are the same.) " The diversity of their size 
and color is remarkable, no two being quite alike." .... 
'SThe wolves of the prairies . . . produce from six to eleven at 
a birth, of which there are very seldom two alike in color." — 
Op. ciL, p. 159. 

" The common American wolf, Richardson observes, some- 
times shows remarkable diversity of color. On the banks of 
the Mackenzie River I saw five young wolves leaping and tum- 
bling over each other with all the playfulness of the puppies of 
the domestic dog, and it is not improbable they were all of one 
litter. One of them was pied, another black, and the rest 
showed the colors of the common gray wolves." 

The same diversity is seen in the prairie wolf, and 
naturalists have been much embarrassed in classifying 
the various wolves on account of colors, size, &c. 

All this is independent of domestication, and shows 
the uncertainty of analogues ; and still it is remarkable 
that though considerable variety exists in the native 
dogs of America in color and size, they do not run 
into the thousand grotesque forms seen on the old 
continent, where a much greater mixture exists. The 
dogs of America, like the aboriginal races of men, are 
comparatively uniform. In the East, where various 
races have come together, the men, like the dogs, pre- 
sent endless varieties, Egypt, Assyria, India, &c. 

Let us suppose that one variety of hog had been 
discovered in Africa, one in Asia, one in Europe, one 
in Australia, another in America, as well marked as 
those Dr. B. describes ; that these varieties had been 
transferred to other climates as have been Jews, 


gypsies, negroes, &c., and had remained for ages 
without change of form or color, would they be con- 
sidered as distinct species or not? — can any one doubt ? 
The rule must work both ways, or the argument falls to 
the ground. 

In fact the Dr. himself makes admissions which fully 
refute his whole theory. 

" Whilst," says he, " we are willing to allow some weight to 
the argument advanced by President Smyth, who endeavors to 
account for the varieties in man from the combined influences 
of three causes, ' climate, the state of society, and manner of 
living,' we are free to admit that it is impossible to account for 
the varieties in the human family from the causes which he has 

The Dr. further admits, in the same work, that the 
races have been permanent since the time of the old 
Egyptian empire, and supposes that at some extremely 
remote time, of which we have no record, that "they 
were more susceptible of producing varieties than at a 
later period." These suppositions answer a very good 
purpose in theology, but do not meet the requirements 
of science. 


Having shown the insufficiency of all the other 
arguments in establishing the landmarks of species, let 
us now turn to those based on hyhridity, which seems 
to be the last stronghold of the unity party. On this 

> Op. ciL, p. 177. 


point hang all the diflSculties of M. Gobineau, and had 
he been posted up to date here, his doubts would all 
have vanished. The last twelve months have added 
some very important facts to those previously pub- 
lished, and we shall, with as little detail as possible, 
present the subject in its newest light. 

It is contended that when two animals of distinct 
species, or, in other words, of distinct origin, are bred 
together, they produce a hybrid which is infertile, or 
which at least becomes sterile in a few generations if 
preserved free from admixture with the parent stocks. 
It is assumed that unlimited prolificness is a certain test 
of community of origin. 

We, on the contrary, contend that there is no abrupt 
line of demarcation ; that no complete laws of hybridity 
have yet been established ; that there is a regular 
gradation in the prolificness of the species, and that, 
according to the best lights we now possess, there is a 
continued series from perfect sterility to perfect prolifi- 
cacy. The degrees may be expressed in the following 
language : — 

1. That in which hybrids never reproduce ; in other 
words, where the mixed progeny begins and ends with 
the first cross. 

2. That in which the hybrids are incapable of pro- 
ducing inter se, but multiply by union with the parent 

3. That in which animals of unquestionably distinct 


species produce a progeny which are prolific inter se, 
but have a tendency to run out. 

4. That which takes place between closely proximate 
species ; among mankind, for example, and among those 
domestic animals most essential to human wants and 
happiness ; here the proHficacy is unlimited. 

It seems to be a law that in those genera where 
several or many species exist, there is a certain grada- 
tion which is shown in degrees of hybridity; some 
having greater affinity than others. Experiments are 
still wanting to make our knowledge perfect, but we 
know enough to establish our points. 

There are many points we have not space to dwell 
on, as the relative influence of the male and female on 
the offspring ; the tendency of one species to pre- 
dominate over another ; the tendency of types to 
"crop out" after lying dormant for many generations; 
the fact that in certain species some of the progeny 
take after one parent and some after the other, while 
in other cases the offspring presents a medium type, &c. 

The genus Equus (Horse) comprises six species, of 
which three belong to Asia, and three to Africa. The 
Asiatic species are the Equus Cahallus (Horse), Equus 
Hemionus (Dzigguetai), and Equus Asinus (Ass). 
Those of Africa are the Equus Zebra (Zebra), Equus 
Montanus (Daw), and the Equus Quaccha (Quagga). 
The horse and ass alone have been submitted to do- 
mestication from time immemorial ; the others have 
remained wild. 


It is well known that the horse and ass produce 
together an unprolific mole, and as these two species 
are the furthest removed from each other in their 
physical structure, Dr. Morton long since suggested 
that intermediate species bred together would show a 
higher degree of prolificness, and this prediction has 
been vindicated by experiments recently made in the 
Garden of Plants at Paris, where the ass and dziggue- 
tai have been bred together for the last ten years. 
"What is very remarkable, these hybrids differ con- 
siderably from each other ; some resemble much more 
closely the dzigguetai, others the ass." In regard to 
the product of the male dzigguetai and the jenny, Mr. 
Geoflfroy St. Hilaire says :* — 

" Another fact, not less worthy of interest, is the fecundity, if 
not of all the mules, at least the firstborn among them ; Avith 
regard to this, the fact is certain ; he has produced several 
times with Jennies, and once with the female dzigguetai, the 
only one he has covered. "^ 

At a meeting of the " Societe Zoologique d' Accli- 

M. ELchard (du Cantal) " parle des essais de croisements de 
I'hemione avec I'anesse, et dit qu'ils ont donne un mulet beau- 
coup plus ardent que I'ane. II asserte que les produits de 
I'hemione avec I'ane, sont feconds, et que le metis, nomme 
Polka, a deja produit." 

' Domestication et Naturalization des Animauz utiles, par M. 
Isadore Geoffrey St. Hilaire, p. 71, Paris, 1854. 
2 Ibid. 


To wliat extent the prolificness of these two species 
will go is yet to be determined, and there is an unex- 
plored field still open among the other species of this 
genus ; it is highly probable that a gradation may be 
established from sterility, up to perfect prolificacy. 

Not only do the female ass and the male onager 
breed together, but a male offspring of this cross, with 
a mare, produces an animal more docile than either 
parent, and combining the best physical qualities, 
such as strength, speed, &c. ; whence the ancients pre- 
ferred the onager to the ass, for the production of 
mules.^ Mr. Gliddon, who lived upwards of twenty 
years in Egypt and other eastern countries, informs me 
this opinion is still prevalent in Egypt, and is acted 
upon more particularly in Arabia, Persia, &c., where 
the gour, or wild ass, still roams the desert. The zebra 
has also been several times crossed with the horse. 

The genus canis contains a great many species, as 
domestic dogs, wolves, foxes, jackals, &c., and much 
discussion exists as to which are really species and 
which mere varieties. In this genus experiments in 
crossing have been carried a step further than in the 
Equid(B^ but there is much yet to be done. All the 
species produce prolific offspring, but how far the 
prolificness might extend in each instance is not known ; 
there is reason to believe that every grade would be 

' Columbia, p. 135. 



found except that of absolute sterility whicli is seen 
in the offspring of the horse and ass. 

The following facts are given by M. Flourens, and 
are the result of his own observations at the Jardin des 

" The hybrids of the dog and wolf are sterile after the third 
generation ; those of the jackal and dog, are so after the fourth. 

" Moreover, if one of these hybrids is bred -with one of the 
primitive species, they soon return, completely and totally, to 
this species. 

"My experiments on the crossing of species have given me 
opportunities of making a great many observations of this 

"The union of the dog and jackal produces a hybrid — a mix- 
ed animal, an animal partaking almost equally of the two, but 
in which, however, the type of the jackal predominates over 
that of the dog. 

" I have remarked, in fact, in my experiments, that all types 
are not equally dominant and persistent. The type of the dog 
is more persistent than that of the wolf — that of the jackal 
more than that of the dog ; that of the horse is less than that 
of the ass, &c. The hybrid of the dog and the wolf partakes 
more of the dog than the wolf; the hybrid of the jackal and 
dog, takes more after the jackal than dog ; the hybrid of the 
horse and the ass partakes less of the horse than the ass ; it 
has the ears, back, rump, voice of the ass ; the horse neighs, 
the ass brays, and the mule brays like the ass, &c. 

"The hybrid of the dog and jackal, then, partakes more of 
the jackal than dog — it has straight ears, hanging tail, does not 
bark, and is wild — it is more jackal than dog. 

" So much for the first cross product of the dog with the 
jackal. I continue to unite, from generation to generation, the 
successive products with one of the two primitive stocks — with 
that of the dog, for example. The hybrid of the second genera- 
tion does not yet bark, but has already the ears pendent at the 
ends, and is less savage. The hybrid of the third generation 


barks, has the ears pendent, the tail turned up, and is no longer 
wild. The hybrid of the fourth generation is entirely a dog. 

*'Four generations, then, have sufficed to re-establish one of 
the two primitive types — the type of the dog ; and four gene- 
rations suffice, also, to bring back the other type."' 

From the foregoing facts, M. Flourens deduces, 
without assigning a reason, the following «o« sequitur:— 

" Thus, then, either hybrids, born of the union of two dis- 
tinct species, unite and soon become sterile, or they unite with 
one of the parent stocks, and soon return to this type — they in 
no case give what may be called a new species, that is to say, 
an intermediate durable species. "^ 

The dog also produces hybrids with the fox and 
hyena, but to what extent has not yet been determined. 
The hybrid fox is certainly prolific for several genera- 

There are also bovine, camelline, caprine, ovine, 
feline, deer with the ram, and endless other hybrids, 
running through the animal kingdom, but they are but 
repetitions of the above facts, and experiments are 
still far from being complete in establishing the degrees 
which attach to each two species. "We have abundant 
proofs, however, of the three first degrees of hybridity. 
1st. Where the hybrid is infertile. 2d. Where it pro- 
duces with the parent stock. 3d. Where it is prolific 

' Dela Longevite Humaine, &c., par P. Flourens, Paris, 1855. 

2 M. Flourens here, perhaps, speaks too positively. The 
blood of the apparently lost species will show itself from time 
to time for many, if not endless generations. 


for one, two, three, or four generations, and then be- 
comes sterile. Tip to this point there is no diversity 
of opinion. Let us now inquire what evidence there is 
of the existence of the 4th degree, in which hybrids 
may form a new and permanent race. 

To show how slow has been our progress in this 
question, and what difficulties beset our path, we need 
only state that the facts respecting the dog, wolf, and 
jackal, quoted above from Flourens, have only been 
published within the last twelve months. The identity 
of the dog and wolf has heretofore been undetermined, 
and the degrees of hybridity of the dog with the wolf 
and jackal were before unknown. These experiments 
do not extend beyond one species of wolf 

M. Flourens says : — 

" Les esp^ces ne s'altlrent point, ne changent point, ne passent 
point de I'une d Vautre; les esphces sont fixes." 

"If species have a tendency to transformation, to pass one 
into another, why has not time, ■which, in everything, effects all 
that can happen, ended by disclosing, by betraying, by implying 
this tendency. 

" But time, they may tell me, is wanting. It is not wanting. 
It is 2000 years since Aristotle wrole, and we recognize in our 
day all the animals which he describes ; and we recognize them 
by the characters which he assigns. . . . Cuvier states that 
the history of the elephant is more exact in Aristotle than in 
Buffon. They bring us every day from Egypt, the remains of 
animals which lived there two or three thousand years ago — the 
ox, crocodiles, ibis, &c. &c., which are the same as those of the 
present day. "VVe have under our eyes human mummies — the 
skeleton of that day is identical with that of the Egyptian of 
our day." 

(M. Flourens might have added that the mummies 


of the white and black races show them to have been 
as distinct then as now, and that the monumental draw- 
ings represent the different races more than a thousand 
years further back.) 

" Thus, then, through three thousand years, no species has 
changed. An experiment which continues through three thou- 
sand years, is not an experiment to be made — it is an experi- 
ment made. Species do not change."' 

Permanence of type, then, is the only test which he 
can adduce for the designation of species, and he here 
comes back plainly to the position we have taken. Let 
us now test the races of men by this rule. The white 
Asiatic races, the Jew, the Arab, the Egyptian, the 
negro, at least, are distinctly figured on the monuments 
of Egypt and Assyria, as distinct as they are now, 
and thne and change of climate have not transformed 
any one type into another. In whatever unexplored 
regions of the earth the earliest voyagers have gone, 
they have found races equally well marked. These 
races are all prolific inter se, and there is every reason 
to believe that we here find the fourth and last degree 
of hybridity. Whether the prolificacy is imlimited be- 
tween all the races or species of men is still an unsettled 
point, and experiments have not yet been fully and 
fairly made to determine the question. The dog and 
wolf become sterile at the third. The dog and jackal 

' Op. cil. 



at the fourth generation, and who can tell whether the 
law of hybridity might not show itself in man, after a 
longer succession of generations. There are no obser- 
vations yet of this kind in the human family. It is a 
common belief in our Southern States, that mulattoes 
are less prolific, and attain a less longevity than the 
parent stocks. I am convinced of the truth of this re- 
mark, when applied to the mulatto from the strictly 
white and black races, and I am equally convinced, 
from long personal observation, that the dark-skinned 
European races, as Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians, 
Basques, &c., mingle much more perfectly with the ne- 
groes than do fair races, thus carrying out the law of 
gradation in hybridity. If the mulattoes of New Or- 
leans and Mobile be compared with those of the 
Atlantic States, the fact will become apparent. 

The argument in favor of unlimited prolificacy be- 
tween species may be strongly corroborated by an ap- 
peal to the history of our domestic animals, whose 
history is involved in the same impenetrable mystery 
as that of man. M. Geoffroy St. Hilaire very justly 
remarks that we know nothing of the origin of our 
domestic animals ; because we find wild hogs, goats, 
sheep, &c.,in certain parts of Europe, several thousand 
years subsequent to the early migrations of man, this 
does not prove that the domestic come from these wild 
ones. The reverse may be the case.* 

» Op. cii., p. 122. 


We have already made some general observations on 
the genus canis, whose natural history is most closely 
allied to that of man. Let us now inquire whether 
the domestic dog is but one species, or whether under 
this head have been included many proximate species 
of unlimited prolificacy. If we try the question by 
permanency of type, like the races of men, and all well- 
marked species, the doubt must be yielded. 

There are strong reasons given by Dr. Morton and 
other naturalists, for supposing that our common dogs, 
independent of mixtures of their various races, may 
also have an infusion of the blood of foxes, wolves, 
jackals, and even the hyena ; thus forming, as we see 
every day around us, curs of every possible grade ; but 
setting aside all this, we have abundant evidence to 
show that each zoological province has its original dog, 
and, perhaps, not unfrequently several. 

In one chapter on hybridity in the " Types of Man- 
Mnd,''^ it is shown that our Indian dogs in America 
present several well-marked types, unlike any in the 
Old World, and which are indigenous to the soil. For 
example, the Esquimaux dog, the Hare Indian dog, 
the North American dog, and several others. We 
have not space here to enter fully into the facts, but 
they will be found at length in the work above men- 
tioned. These dogs, too, are clearly traced to wild 
species of this continent. 

In other parts of the world we find other species 
equally well marked, but we shall content ourselves with 


the facts drawn from the ancient monuments of Egypt, 
It is no longer a matter of dispute that as far back, at 
least, as the twelfth dynasty, about 2300 years before 
Christ, we find the common small dog of Egypt, the 
greyhound, the staghound, the turnspit, and several 
other types which do not correspond with any dogs 
that can now be identified.^ "We find, also, the mastiff 
admirably portrayed on the monuments of Babylon, 
which dog was first brought from the East to Greece 
by Alexander the Great, 300 years B. C. The muse- 
ums of natural history, also, everywhere abound in the 
remains of fossil dogs, which long antedate all living 

The wolf, jackal, and hyena are also found distinctly 
drawn on the early monuments of Egypt, and a grey- 
hound, exactly like the English greyhound, with semi- 
pendent ears, is seen on a statue in the Yatican, at Rome. 
It is clear, then, that the leading types of dogs of the 
present day (and probably all) existed more than four 
thousand years ago, and it is equally certain that the 
type of a dog, when kept pure, will endure in opposite 

' It has been objected, that the drawings cannot be relied on, 
as some of these types are no longer to be found. But there 
are several well-marked types of domestic animals on the old 
monuments that no longer exist, because they have been sup- 
planted by better breeds. In this country several varieties of 
the Indian dogs are rapidly disappearing for the same reason. 
The llama must give place, in the same way, to the cow and the 
horse. Many other instances may be cited. 

APPEND! . 501 

climates for ages. Our staghounds, greyhounds, mas- 
tiffs, turnspits, pointers, terriers, &c., are bred for cen- 
turies, not only in Egypt and Europe without losing 
their types, but in any climate which does not destroy 
them. No one denies that climate influences these an- 
imals greatly, but the greyhound, staghound, or bull- 
dog can never be transformed into each other. 

The facts above stated cannot be questioned, and it 
is admitted that these species are all prolific without 
limit inter se. 

The llama affords another strong argument in favor 
of the fourth degree of hybridity. Cuvier admits but 
two species — the llama (camelus llacma), of which he 
regards the alpaca as a variety, and the vigogne 
{camelus vicunna). More recent naturalists regard 
the alpaca as a distinct species, among whom is M. 
Geoffroy St. Hilaire.* At all events, it seems settled 
that they all breed together without limit. 

" A son tour, apres la vigogne, viendra bientot Talpavigogne, 
fruit du croisement de I'alpaca avec la vigogne. Don Francisco 
de Theran, 11 ya quarante ans, et M. de Castelnau, avaient 
annonc6 deja que ce metis est fecond, et qu'il porte une laine 
presque aussi longue quecelle de I'alpaca, presqueaussi fine que 
celle de la -vigogne. . . . M. Weddell a mis tout recemment 
I'Academie des Sciences a meme de voir et d'admirer cette 
admirable toison. II a confirme en meme temps un fait que 
n'avait trouve que des incr^dules parmi les naturalists — la fe- 
condit6 de Talpaca-vigogne : I'abbe Cabrera, cure de la petite 
ville de Macusani, a obtenu une race qui se perpetue et dont il 
poss^de deja tout un troupeau. C'est, done, pour ainsi dire, 

' Op. ciL, p. 29. 1854. 


une nouvelle espfece cr^^e par rhomme ; et si paradoxal qu' ait 
pu sembler ce resultat, il est, fort heureusement pour I'indus- 
trie, definiHvement acquis a la science. 

" Ce resultat n'aurait rien de paradoxal, si I'alpaca n'^tait, 
comme Tont pens6 plusieurs auteurs, qu'une race domestique 
et tres modifiee de la vigogne. Cette objection centre le pretendu 
principe de I'infdcondite des mulets ne serait d'ailleurs levee que 
pour faire place a une autre; Valpa-llama serait alors unmulet, 
issu de deux especes distincts, et I'alpa-llama est fecond comme 

We have recently seen exhibited in Mobile a beauti- 
ful hybrid of the alpaca and common sheep, and the 
owner informed us that he had a jlock at home, which 
breed perfectly. 

Dr. Bachman confesses that he has not examined the 
drawings given in the works of Lepsius, ChampoUion, 
E-ossellini, and other Egyptologists, of various animals 
represented on the monuments, and ridicules the idea 
of their being received as authority in matters of natu- 
ral history. Although many of the drawings are rudely 
done, most of them, in outline, are beautifully executed, 
and Dr. B. is the first, so far as we know, to call the 
fact in question. Dr. Cnas. Pickering is received by 
Dr. B. as high authority in scientific matters — he has 
not only examined these drawings, but their originals- 
Lepsius, ChampoUion, Rossellini, Wilkinson, and all 
the Egyptologists, have borne witness to the reliability 
of these drawings, and have enumerated hundreds of 
animals and plants which are perfectly identified. 

» Op. cit., p. 101. 


Martin, the author of the work on "Man and 
Monkeys,^'' is certainly good authority. He says : — 

"Now we have in modern Egypt and Arabia, and also in 
Persia, varieties of greyhound closely resembling those of the 
ancient remains of art, and it would appear that two or three 
varieties exist — one smooth, another long haired, and another 
smooth with long-haired ears, resembling those of the spaniel. 
In Persia, the greyhound, to judge from specimens we have seen, 
is silk-haired, with a fringed tail. They are of a black color ; 
but a fine breed, we are informed, is of a slate or ash color, as 
are some of the smooth-haired greyhounds depicted in the 
Egyptian paintings. In Arabia, a large, rough, powerful race 
exists; and about Akaba, according to Laborde, a breed of 
slender form, fleet, with a long tail, very hairy, in the form of a 
brush, with the ears erect and pointed, closely resembling, in 
fact, many of those figured by the ancient Egyptians."' 

He goes on to quote Col. Sykes, and others, for other 
varieties of greyhound in the east, unlike any in Europe. 

Dr. Pickering, after enumerating various objects 
identified on the monuments of the third and fourth 
dynasties, as Nubians, white races, the ostrich, ibis, 
jackal, antelope, hedgehog, goose, fowls, ducks, bullock, 
donkey, goats, dog-faced ape, hyena, porcupine, wolves, 
foxes, &c. &c., when he comes down to the twelfth 
dynasty, says : — 

" The paintings on the walls represent a vast variety of sub- 
jects ; including, most unexpectedly, the greater part of the arts 
and trades practised among civilized nations at the present day ; 
also birds, quadrupeds, fishes, and insects, amounting to an ex- 
tended treatise on zoology, well deserving the attention of natural- 

' Op. cit., p. 63. 


ists. The date accompanying these representations has been 
astronomically determined by Biot, at about B. C. 2200 
(ChampoUion-Figeac, Egyp. Arc.) ; and Lepsius's chronological 
computation corresponds. " ' 

Dr. P. gives us a fauna and flora of Egypt, running 
further back than Usher's date for the creation, and it 
cannot be doubted that the drawings are as reliable as 
those in any modern work on natural history. 


Mr. Gobineau remarks (p. 361), that he has very 
serious doubts as to the unity of origin. " These 
doubts, however," he continues, " I am compelled to 
repress, because they are in contradiction to a scientific 
fact, which I cannot refute — the prolificness of half- 
breeds ; and secondly, what is of much greater weight 
with me, they impugn a religious interpretation sanc- 
tioned by the church." 

With regard to the prolificness of half-breeds, I have 
already mentioned such facts as might have served to 
dispel the learned writer's doubts, had he been ac- 
quainted with them. In reference to the other, more 
serious, obstacle to his admission of the plurality of 
origins, he himself intimates (p. 339) that the authority 

' Geographical Dist., p. 17. 

This work, I believe, is not yet issued, but Dr. Pickering has 
kindly sent me the first 150 pages, as printed. 


of this interpretation might, perhaps, be questioned 
without transgressing the limits imposed by the church. 
Believing this view to be correct, I shall venture on a 
few remarks upon this last scruple of the author, which 
is shared by many investigators of this interesting sub- 

" The strict rule of scientific scrutiny," says the most learned 
and formidable opponent in the adversary's camp,* "exacts, 
according to modern philosophers, in matters of inductive 
reasoning, an exclusive homage. It requires that we should 
close our eyes against all presumptive and exterior evidence, 
and abstract our minds from all considerations not derived from 
the matters of fact which bear imviediately on the question. The 
maxim we have to follow in such controversies is ' fiat justitia, 
ruat coelum.' In fact, what is actually true, it is always desirous 
to know, whatever consequerices may arise from its admission^" 

To this sentiment I cheerfully subscribe : it has al- 
ways been my maxim. Yet I find it necessary, in 
treating of this subject, to touch on its hiblical connec- 
tions, for although "we have great reason to rejoice at 
the improved tone of toleration, or even liberality 
which prevails in this country, the day has not 
come when science can be severed from theology, and 
the student of nature can calmly follow her truths, no 
matter whither they may lead. What a mortifying 
picture do we behold in the histories of astronomy, 
geology, chronology, cosmogony, geographical distri- 
bution of animals, &c.; they have been compelled to 
fight their way, step by step, through human passion 

' Prichard, Nat. Hist, of Man, p. 8. London, 1843. 



and prejudice, from their supposed contradiction to 
Holy Writ. But science has been vindicated — their 
great truths hare been established, and the Bible stands 
as firmly as it did before. The last great struggle be- 
tween science and theology is the one we are now en- 
gaged in — the natural history of man — it has now, for 
the first time, a fair hearing before Christendom, and 
all any question should ask is " daylight and fair 

The Bible should not be regarded as a text-book of 
natural history. On the contrary, it must be admitted 
that none of the writers of the Old or New Testa- 
ment give the slightest evidence of knowledge in any 
department of science beyond that of their profane 
contemporaries ; and we hold that the natural history 
of man is a department of science which should be 
placed upon the same footing with others, and its facts 
dispassionately investigated. What we require for our 
guidance in this world is truth, and the history of 
science shows how long it has been stifled by bigotry 
and error. 

It was taught for ages that the sun moved around 
the earth ; that there had been but one creation of 
organized beings ; that our earth was created but six 
thousand years ago, and that the stars were made to 
shed light upon it ; that the earth was a plane, with 
sides and ends ; that all the animals on earth were de- 
rived from Noah's ark, &c. But what a different reve- 
lation does science give us ? We now know that the 


earth revolves around the sun, that the earth is a globe 
which turns on its own axis, that there has been a suc- 
cession of destructions and creations of living beings, 
that the earth has existed countless ages, and that 
there are stars so distant as to require millions of years " 
for their light to reach us ; that instead of one, there 
are many centres of creation for existing animals and 
plants, &c. 

If so many false readings of the Bible have been 
admitted among theologians, who has authority or 
wisdom to say to science — "thus far shalt thou go, 
and no further ?" The doctrine of unity for the human 
family may be another great error, and certainly a 
denial of its truth does no more, nay, less violence to the 
language of the Bible, than do the examples above cited. 

It is a popular error, and one difficult to eradicate, 
that all the species of animals now dwelling on the 
earth are descendants of pairs and septuples preserved 
in Noah's ark, and certainly the language of Genesis 
on this point is too plain to admit of any quibble ; it 
does teach that every living being perished by the 
flood, except those alone which were saved in the ark. 
Yet no living naturalist, in or out of the church, be- 
lieves this statement to be correct. The centres of 
creation are so numerous, and the number of animals 
so great that it is impossible it should be so. 

On the other hand, the first chapter of Genesis gives 
an account entirely in accordance with the teachings 
of science. 


"And God said, let the earth bring forth grass, the herb 
yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, 
"whose seed is in itself upon the earth ; and it was so." Gen. 
i. 11. 

"And God said, let the waters bring forth abundantly, ihQ 
moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the 
earth in the open firmament of heaven." v. 20. 

"And God created great whales, and every living creature 
that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly," &c. 
V. 21. 

" And God said, let the earth brirg forth the living creature 
after his kind, cattle and creeping thing, and beast of the earth 
after his kind, and it was so." v. 24. 

*' God created man in his own image ; male and female created 
he them." 

In the language above quoted, nothing is said about 
one seed or one blade of grass ; about one fruit tree, 
or about single pairs of animals or human beings. On 
the contrary, this chapter closes with the distinct im- 
pression on the mind that everything was created 
abundantly. The only difficulty arises with regard to 
the human family, and we are here confused by the 
contradictory statements of the first and second chap- 
ters. In the first chapter, man was created male and 
female, on the sixth day — in the second chapter, woman 
was not created until after Adam was placed in the 
Garden of Eden. Commentators explain this discre- 
pancy by the difference in style of the two chapters, and 
the inference that Genesis is a compilation made up by 
Moses from two or three different writers ; but it is 
not our purpose here to open these theological discus- 
sions. Both sides are sustained by innumerable author- 
ities. From what we have before shown, it is clear 


that the inspired writers possessed no knowledge of 
physical sciences, and as little respecting the natural 
history of man, as of any other department. 

Their moraZ mission does not concern our subject, 
and we leave that to theologians, to whom it more 
properly belongs. On the other hand, we ask to be 
let alone in our study of the physical laws of the uni- 
verse. The theologian and the naturalist have each 
an ample field without the necessity of interfering with 
each other. 

The Bible is here viewed only in its relations with 
physical science. We have already alluded to the fact 
that in astronomy, geology, &c., the authors of the 
Bible possessed no knowledge beyond that of their 
profane contemporaries, and a dispassionate examina- 
tion of the text from Genesis to Revelation will show 
that the writers had but an imperfect knowledge of 
contemporary races, and did not design to teach the 
doctrine of unity of mankind, or rather origin from a 
single pair. The writer of the Pentateuch could 
attach little importance to such an idea, as he no- 
where alludes to a future existence, or rewards and 
punishments— all good and evil, as far as the human 
race is concerned, with him, were merely temporal. 

This idea of a future state does not distinctly appear 
in the Jewish writings until after their return from the 
Babylonish captivity. 

The extent of the surface of the globe, known even 
to the writers of the New Testament, formed but a 


small fraction of it — little beyond the confines of the 
Roman empire. No allusion is even made to Southern 
and Eastern Asia ; Africa, south of the Desert ; Aus- 
tralia, America, &c. ; all of which were inhabited long 
before the time of Moses ; and of the races of men in- 
habiting these countries, and their languages, they 
certainly knew nothing. The Chinese and Indian 
empires, at least, are beyond dispute. The early 
Hebrews were a pastoral people ; had little commer- 
cial or other intercourse with the rest of the world,, 
and were far from being " learned in all the wisdom 
of the Egyptians." The Egyptian empire was fully 
developed — arts and science as flourishing — pyramids 
and gorgeous temples built, not only before the time 
of Moses, but long prior to that of the Patriarch 
Abraham, who, with Sarah, went to Egypt to buy 
corn of the reigning Pharaoh. What is remarkable, 
too, the Egyptians had their ethnographers, and had 
already classified the human family into four races, and 
depicted them on the monuments, viz : the black, 
white, yellow, and red.^ 

In fact, nothing can be more incomplete, contradic- 
tory, and unsatisfactory than the ethnography of Gene- 
sis. We see Cain going into a foreign land and taking 
a wife before there were any women born of his parent 
stock. Cities are seen springing up in the second and 
third generations, in every direction, &c. All this 
shows that we have in Genesis no satisfactory history 

• See " Types of Mankind," by Nott and Gliddon. 


of the human family, and that we can rely no more 
upon its ethnography than upon its geography, astro- 
nomy, cosmogony, geology, zoology, &c. 

We have already alluded to the fact that the writers 
of the New Testament give no evidence of additional 
knowledge in such matters. The sermon from the 
Mount comes like a light from Heaven, but this volume 
is mute on all that pertains to the physical laws of the 

If the common origin of man were such an import- 
ant point in the eyes of the Almighty as we have been 
taught to believe, is it reasonable to suppose it would 
have been left by the inspired writers in such utter 
confusion and doubt ? The coming of Christ changed 
the whole question, and we should expect, at least in 
the four Gospels, for some authority that would settle 
this vital point ; but strange as the assertion may seem, 
there is not a single passage here to be found, which, 
by any distortion, can be made to sustain this unity ; 
and on searching diligently the New Testament, from 
one end to the other, we were not a little surprised to 
find but a single text that seemed to bear directly upon 
it, viz : the oft quoted one in Acts xvii. 26 : "And 
hath made of one hlood all nations of men for to dwell 
on all the face of the earth," &c. Being astonished at 
the fact that this great question of common origin of 
man should thus be made to hang so much upon a 
single verse, it occurred to me that there might be 
some error, some interpolation in the text, and having 


no material at hand for such an investigation in Mobile, 
I wrote to a competent friend in Philadelphia, to ex- 
amine for me all the Greek texts and old versions, and 
his reply confirmed fully my suspicions. The word 
Mood is an interpolation, and not to be found in the 
original texts. The word hlood has been rejected by 
the Catholic Church, from the time of St. Jerome to 
the present hour. The text of Tischendorf is regarded, 
I believe, generally as the most accurate Greek text 
known, and in this the word blood does not appear. I 
have at hand a long list of authorities to the same 
eflfect, but as it is presumed no competent authority 
will call our assertion in question, it is needless to cite 
them. The verse above alluded to in Acts should, 
therefore, read : — 

" And hath made of one all races (genus) of men," &c. 

The word hlood is a gloss, and we have just as much 
right to interpolate one form, one substance, one nature, 
one responsibility, or anything else, as blood. 

These remarks on the ethnography of the Bible 
might be greatly extended, but my object here is simply 
to show that the Bible, to say the least, leaves the field 
open, and that I have entered it soberly, discreetly, 
and advisedly. 


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